At our last Book Group meeting our returning member gave us the choice of any book from the Library of Wales selection of books by English speaking Welsh writers. We chose “Dai Country” by Alun Richards. This book was first published in 1973 as a book of short stories. The Library of Wales republished it in 1986 after Alun Richard’s death with the addition of the first part of his autobiography “Days of Absence” first published in 1986. He wrote many other books and the script for several episodes of the “Onedin Line and ” Z Cars”, he was a professional writer. I enjoyed the short stories, but loved the autobiography which struck several chords with me. I do not know whether it will do the same with the rest of the group because they were all born after this era.
Alun Richards was born in 1929 in Pontypridd, a fatherless child (his father left when he was 3 days old) and his mother had to leave home to find work, so he was brought up by his grandmother a strong Welsh lady whose family ran a small business in Pontypridd which they thought was the centre of the world, if not the universe. This family lived under the shadow of the deaths of their recent much decorated war heroes. The young Alun was never told who his father was, it was all a big secret, so consequently he was always trying to find out, looking into every male face to see if he could find any resemblance to himself.
The characters in this book are very well drawn,particularly the grand mother and the Headmaster of the secondary school known as “The Pig”, Alun lived in daily fear of this monstrous man.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone in the world who has family roots in the mining valleys of South Wales. I loved it!!!!
Unfortunately, I am not going to be at the next Book group meeting because I have unexpectedly been asked to host a 14 year old rugby player from Australia who is coming to play at my grandson’s school, he is arriving the day of the meeting, I have the only spare bed!!. However, with the help of modern communication I can keep in touch with the discussion and will give my score.
There was nothing wrong with my Super Duper Cooker, it fooled us all by going into”fail safe” mode eventually figured out by the electrician several days later .Hooray!!!!
Three days later.
I have just been talking to a friend who lives in West Wales telling him how much I enjoyed Alun Richards book “Days of Absence” He told me that when they were young men they were the best of friends, going fishing and generally socialising together. He, Alun made every one jealous by riding around Swansea with Joan Bakewell, who was visiting, riding pillion.