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How Green Was My Valley
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How Green Was My Valley

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  11,686 Ratings  ·  1,048 Reviews

Huw Morgan, about to leave home forever, reminisces about the golden days of his youth, when South Wales still prospered and coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Llewellyn's characters fight, love, laugh, and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 25th 1991 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1939)
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Sep 10, 2007 Wesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will be a review that I will, no doubt, edit and add to a lot.

This is easily my most favorite and special book. It's something so beautiful that my heart aches to dwell on it. It aches because I long to be apart of something so perfect and wish for such beauty in everything I experience.

I feel I belong in that small Welsh mining town, that I should be spending all of my time supporting my family and town, singing with friends, learning voraciously, worshiping God intelligently and recogniz
helen the bookowl
4.5/5 stars.
This is a wonderful and very clever piece of fiction about how we tend to remember things from our past fondly while forgetting about how bad things really were. "How Green Was My Valley" is a book about nostalgia and it is told from the point of view of Huw, who is now an elder, but who reflects back on his life and his childhood in the valleys of Wales.
This novel was wonderfully written with beautiful passages on life as well as note-worthy anecdotes on Huw's childhood and amazin
Peggy Scripter
Jul 17, 2009 Peggy Scripter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Llewellen's writing is akin to Welsh singing. This story is written so beautifully, in places it takes your breath away. Examples:
Page 88, "O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live for ever in the wideness of that rich moment."
Page 159, "There is beautiful to watch a moun
Mar 28, 2008 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Recommended to Meg by: high school literature class
I've only re-read a handful of books in my life, and I've read this one at least 5 times. If I had to pick a favorite book of all time (sacrilege!) - it would be this one. Never have I seen prose that has this much POETRY in it. How Green is a unique, lyrical beauty.

The coming-of-age narrator, Huw, so well paints a picture of his everyday struggles in a rapidly-industrialized Wales that you can literally hear the birds and smell the blackberry pie. Of course many authors are good at description
This is a very hard book to rate. I'm going with three and a half stars with caveats for some readers. Parts of it were five star brilliant. The rhythm and pattern of Welsh speech, conversation and story telling is rendered into English with a deft and often humorous touch. The descriptions of Wales and the countryside were exquisite and the sense of place and time so intense and immediate that I was often completely transported. The best parts are in the first half of the book as a man looks ba ...more
3.5 Stars

So is this a good book? 

Did I feel the magic of it?
Sadly, No.

Why not?
I wish I knew.

Sometimes, a book pulls you and holds you and it becomes your special possession forever more. Many people have that kind of experience with How Green Was My Valley. I truly thought I would as well. But it didn't happen for me. 

It was worth reading but....what can I say?
There is something missing, there is. My heart never became involved.
I'm afraid I was just glad to finally be done with How Green Was My Valley. It's one of the most popular of the Welsh books I've read -- the one whose popularity has been most enduring, anyway -- and it's hard to understand why, when comparing the cloyingly nostalgic and sentimental story here to the vivacious and real work of Jack Jones and even Caradoc Evans. I guess that's it, though: it's nostalgic and sentimental and it lets the reader feel all weepy about industrialised Wales, without ange ...more
3.5 stars - Spoilers

A rather lovely and quaint coming of age story. It did take a while to get into and was quite slow and boring towards the end, but other than that it was a great read.

-How Green Was My Valley seemed like less of a story and more like a pleasant stroll through the early years of someone's life. More specifically Huw Morgan's life, with him reminiscing about his childhood and the valley that was his home. There was no real solid plot, just Huw looking back at his family, and t
My sister gave me her copy of this book in a big sack of books and snacks and magazines the morning my husband and I set out to drive across the country, moving to Delaware from Utah. I started out reading it silently to myself, but after a chapter or so I had to start reading it aloud to my husband. The writing was so gorgeous, so tender and deeply felt, that I couldn't not share it. Even now, almost seventeen years later, I can remember entire passages word for word. I'm pretty sure I could te ...more
What can I say? This novel was right up my alley.
It revolves around a family and their lives in all their complexity and their amazing simplicity, set in a Welsh coal mining village (which was a unusual setting for me). It was wonderfully written, at once intimate, profound and simple. I loved that it detailed a way of life, harsh, but simple in a way, that is now lost for the most part.
The story is narrated by Huw Morgan, and he has a unique, candid, wise and totally human voice. The parents we
The title, How Green Was My Valley is a giveaway. We know the beautiful green valley is going to change and probably not for the better. This isn't going to be a happy story—or anyway, not one with a happy ending. Or so were my thoughts going into this book. Somehow I missed the 1941 movie* of the same name—and it had Maureen O'Hara no less, one of my all-time favorite actresses. Although Richard Llewellyn's book was first published in 1939 and sounded really familiar I don't remember ever readi ...more
I'm having a hard time figuring out how to rate this book.

On the one hand I recognize that it is beautifully written. Possibly the most beautifully written prose I've ever read. But beautiful prose isn't really that exciting to me. It kept putting me to sleep and it was taking FOREVER to get through the book. Finally after almost a month when I was at around page 300 I decided to start skipping "the irrelevant stuff." My husband asked how I knew I wasn't missing anything important. I told him I'
3 stars - It was good.

What a difficult book to rate! I found this book to be very atmospheric with beautiful passages of quote-worthy prose and really enjoyed the Welsh dialect. BUT, it just felt so incredibly slow for most of the book, and I found the self righteousness of the characters (and of the time) to grow stale and repetitive.

It seemed odd that the book began with the main character leaving the valley, yet as the story of his childhood and coming of age unfolds, you never get to the po
Lovely writing in this story of a Welsh family in a coal-mining village (I think in the Rhondda valley area altough the author didn't specify) from about 1890 to 1910.

While ostensibly about the Morgan family, this novel is documenting the end of an era. I had seen the film but years ago and I was struck when reading this by the similarities to the more recent film "Brassed Off" about the colliery closings in northern England (Yorkshire?) during Margaret Thatcher's time. Different times and place
Jul 17, 2009 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few times in my reading life I have been so been so touched by a book that when it is over I feel a great loss and literally clasp the book to my chest like a loved-one just departed.
Some one once said, after seeing the beauty of Alaska, that he wished he had seen it as an old man, for it's magnificent beauty would surely spoil any scene he would ever see after. That's how I feel about this lovely, beautiful, wonderful book. I am afraid nothing I read will ever make me feel like this. I feel
Mar 16, 2017 TheSkepticalReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-print, classics
Took 3 tries and quite a lot of pages but I ended up really liking it.
Nov 19, 2010 AnnaMay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The characters were so real. I felt like I was right there in the town, in the small home, smelling the same things, eating with them, doing dishes. How did Llewellyn accomplish that?

This was the second time I read this (the first being when I was a young teenager.) I'll be reading it again throughout my life, I'm sure. I'm convinced a teenager's brain is made of fluff, for I remember very little from that first reading. It was as if I hadn't read it before, almost. This seco
Mar 26, 2015 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çocukken okuduğum klasik romanlar vardı. Adeta oradaymışim gibi hissettiren. Robinson Crusoe ile birlikte tahıl yetiştirmiş, Bereketli Topraklar'da bir barakanın yükselişine heyecanlanmıştım. Sonra Üç Silahşörler, Parma Manastırı ve daha onlarcası.
Işte bu kitapta da yıllar sonra, çocukluğumda yaşadığım o doymak bilmez bir merakla takip ettim akışı. Her bir karakteri tek tek tanıdım. Kimini sevdim, kiminden nefret ettim Mr. Jones mesela. O mahkeme sahnesinde diğer tüm katılımcılarla birlikte ben
I'll just go ahead and start by saying this review is a hard one for me to write. My emotions become tied up in all of the books I have loved over the years, and it matters very little what genre they are or what the writing style is or when they were written and by whom. Those books that I really love, I tend to love with wild abandon and, once given, that devotion is rarely retracted. My friend Janicu recently commented that I am "the queen of re-reading." And this is true. I love nothing bett ...more
Ellie Lynn
I cried, a bit, at this book's end. I felt I had truly seen the mountain sleeping, just there, curled on its side, and felt the low, cold wind whistle past. My mind fell easily into the cadence of the dialect, and sung to itself with each welsh name. I felt the valley with his words.

For me, this book's beauty read sharply, showing strength in simple naturalistic description and dialogue. Its characters, who I found deeply relatable, are rare enough, in literature and in life. I already miss the
Feb 19, 2008 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: highlyrecommend
I have a short attention span and, thus, have a hard time reading books by people like, say, Steinbeck or Hardy, where the scenery becomes a character...meaning there are endless passages describing meadows and livestock. However, I loved this book, and, it could be argued, that it has some of that atmospheric quality. I once gave a presentation to a group of women about books I recommend for book groups, and when I mentioned this one, one of the old women - let me say this again, she was OLD an ...more
Sep 30, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classic fiction lovers
I loved this book from the get-go. In spite of labor disputes, food shortages and a near-death experience for the hero, Huw Morgan, the upbeat tone carried through in what to me was a soothing manner.

How Green Was My Valley offers the reader to step into pre-industrialized Wales and watch the traditions, customs slip away as times change. Slip away as do the younger generation lured by London, America and a chance to make a name for themselves through pursuit of military careers. The story foll
Feb 26, 2017 Ginny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: symposium-2017
Does it matter if the wonderful rhythms, imagery, and syntax in the language of this book are authentically Welsh? I would like to believe they are, but Llewellyn was not who he claimed to be--that much is known. His parents were Welsh, but he was born in England. Internet searches turn up many references to the Oscar winning 1941 film, but very few about the book itself.

I loved the language and it made the book for me. The characters (and their environs) are fictional--a bildungsroman that hel
Oct 24, 2015 Poiema rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: musical-theme, top-12
Oh, the joy of reading this book! It was wise and poignant and marinated in song:

"Singing was in my father as sight is in the eye."

"Sing, then. Sing, indeed, with shoulders back, and head up so that song might go to the roof and beyond to the sky. Mass on mass of tone, with a hard edge, and rich with quality, every single note a carpet of colour woven from basso profundo, and basso, and baritone, and alto, and tenor, and soprano, and alto and mezzo, and contralto, singing and singing, until life
Mar 07, 2011 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tidy, absolutely tidy! This book is amazing and I can't believe it has taken me so long to get around to reading it. Llewellyn captures the essence of the Welsh Valleys through descriptive and beautiful prose that will melt the most hardened of readers as we follow Huw Morgan through his childhood, adolescent and young adult years where he finds his feet and learns many an important lesson. Yes Llewellyn combines events and feelings of a wider era than that covered by Morgan's story but in doing ...more
May 28, 2009 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain, hf
A beautifully written book. The language so well creates a time and space depicting Wales, coal mining of days passed, union struggles and both the wonders and hardships of the land. You grow to love the people. When the book is over you are so sad, but also happy to have met these wonderful people and been part of their lives.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I read this book way back in high school, and still remember the effect it had on me. Not only the enjoyment of the story, but also for what I learned from it at that tender age when I knew so little of the world in general.
Review of the audiobook (see the print edition for my review of the book).

Ralph Cosham was the perfect narrator for this classic. I don't know if he is Welsh but his voice had the wonderful lilting quality I associate with a Welsh accent.
Feb 15, 2011 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A new favourite. You can watch my full review here -
Apr 16, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book, but I just finished it again after putting it away for a year or two. Nearly every time I read it I think maybe I had overrated it in my memory and maybe I will be disappointed that it wasn't as good as I remembered, but every time it is better and better and I appreciate the beauty and language and exceptional characters more and more. It really is poetry. This is a book that makes you realize what life should be about.
I truly agr
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Smoke and mirrors or worse ? 2 28 Nov 01, 2015 05:00PM  
author's name incorrect 1 3 Sep 28, 2015 10:28AM  
Welsh Morgans 29 91 Oct 14, 2013 08:01AM  
Small World Galle...: How Green was my Valley Fans 1 20 Feb 19, 2013 08:19AM  
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Richard Llewellyn (real name Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd) was a British novelist.

Llewellyn was born of Welsh parents in Hendon, north London in 1906. Only after his death was it discovered that his claim that he was born in St. Davids, West Wales was false, though of course he was of Welsh blood.

Several of his novels dealt with a Welsh theme, the best-known being How Green Was My Valley
More about Richard Llewellyn...

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“O, there is lovely to feel a book, a good book, firm in the hand, for its fatness holds rich promise, and you are hot inside to think of good hours to come.” 1067 likes
“How green was my valley then, and the valley of them that have gone.” 32 likes
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