Leslie's Reviews > How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
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's review
Aug 01, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, favorites, england
Read in August, 2009

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 quite touched by it.
It's about a small coal-mining village in Wales and the people in it. The focus is on a big wonderful family that loves each other very much though they sure do have their share of trouble. The point of view is that of Huw, beginning when he is just 6 years old and going all the way to his middle age. The prose is, well, poetry. I collected my favorite bits in a list on the bag page but there are too many to fit here. Here's but a few:
"Beautiful were the days that are gone, and O, for them to be back. The mountain was green, and proud with a good covering of oak and ash, and washing his feet in a streaming river clear as the eyes of God. The winds came down with the scents of the grass and wild flowers, putting a sweetness to our noses, and taking away so that nobody could tell what beauty had been stolen, only that the winds were old robbers who took something from each grass and flower and gave it back again, and gave a little to each of us, and took it away again."

"...a tidy house, but open to the weather, and the winds had choir practice whenever they could on every side of it."

"Ceinwen was in my mind, and I kept her there as men keep libraries of rare books, seldom to be touched but happy to know you have got."

I wonder if anyone could ever write such a masterpiece again. If I ever thought I could be a writer, I don't now. I suppose I am just a reader, a proper bibliophile. With books like this, it's enough.
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