A Masterpiece from Someone Else's World
One Moonlit Night Caradog Prichard
Translation Philip Mitchell
For a boy growing up in a quarrying village in north-west Wales in the early twentieth century, life can be full of adventure and comedy, but never without a dark side. In this thinly-disguised portrait of his native Bethesda, Prichard evokes a community dominated by poverty, drink and religion, and peopled with a host of memorable, eccentric and tragic characters. With his impeccable ear for dialogue he captures the feel of every small but formative experience, as the harsh realities of the adult world gradually impinge on childish innocence.
Lyrical and visceral, comic and tragic, compellingly earthy and maddeningly gothic. After forty years this literary oddity continues to elude classification.
Social exclusion, early death from illness or suicide, and above all the spectre of mental breakdown combine to haunt the boy as the narrative moves inexorably to its terrible conclusion at the sinister black lake over the mountain. For all its rich, earthy humour, this is no Under Milk-wood fantasy, but an unsparing, unsentimental analysis of the past. Rewriting and exorcising his own childhood and his relationship with his widowed, troubled mother, Prichard creates an extraordinarily vivid and experimental novel. Radical in form, style and content when first published in 1961, Un Nos Ola Leuad retains the power and freshness which has made it the most admired and best loved of Welsh-language novels.
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