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A Place of Meadows and Tall Trees

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A commentary on an oppressive colonial system that people fled from in order to start a new life, this historical novel examines the hardships suffered by Welsh colonists who settled in Patagonia. Following a devastating sea journey, Silas James encounters a cold South American desert where nothing survives except the nomadic Tehuelche Indians—a tribe potentially intent on ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Seren (first published June 14th 2010)
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Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Patagonia region of Argentina is nearly desolate, even today. Extremes of weather, especially of wind, and the fierce dry cold make it virtually uninhabitable. Yet this is the location of a new colony of people, who left North Wales in 1850, and made to believe they could settle it and live in a peaceful, religious community. Poverty, violence, and debt made these people eager to leave and start over, and a charismatic leader, Edwyn Lloyd, assures all of them that this new world waits for ...more
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it
If you set out - as Clare Dudman did - to write a book about Welsh people colonising a place at almost the opposite end of the earth, in the mid-nineteenth century, then I think you'd be pretty happy with this as the end product. To some extent the story is mundane, in that many people did similar things (some successful, many not). But Dudman manages to overcome the banality of a struggle to survive and to enliven it into a moving tale of disappointments, losses and very occasional successes.

Debra Hamel
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: The author is a friend of mine, so you may worry that my praise of her book is due to bias, whether conscious or unconscious. The latter may be the case, of course, but I'd invite you to read her book yourself to see if my high opinion is justified. I can only repeat the conversation I had with my eight-year-old daughter the other day:

"This is Clare's book. She's a really, really good writer."
"Then why does she talk to *you*?"

I think it's because I'm lucky.

It was clear to
Die Booth
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This isn’t my usual kind of read. It’s got no supernatural element, no mystery to investigate and no rock n’ roll. In fact, being based upon the true story of 19th century Welsh settlers in Patagonia, it’s only partly fiction. I was doubly pleased, therefore, that I enjoyed this book as much as I did and found it so memorable and moving.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was the sheer quality of the writing. The story is, to be honest, as unremittingly bleak as the inhospitable ‘
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a good book. It is not an exciting book but it is an engrossing book. It sticks to the facts and doesn’t exaggerate them for effect. That said there were opportunities to maximise on factual events that maybe Clare didn’t capitalise on but I feel the book’s strength lies in its portrayal of real people. In an e-mail to me she wrote that she “wanted to use this story to say something about the condition of being human” and it does. It focuses on identity, national identity on the surface, ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2016
Dudman does it again. Each of her books is so different from the others, but bound by her care and quality of writing. I feel like I've been educated as well as being entertained. I feel like I've actually spent a bit of time in that time and place, so carefully and believably has Dudman crafted her story. Not much actually happens - other than the enormity of a small group of people struggling within and without to survive, to exist, to find their place in the world, and in themselves. What ...more
Avid Reader
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this book quite hard going at first. However it did get better as I read further on in the story. I felt sorry for the pioneers who I felt had been betrayed and lost so much!!!

It's not a book I would read again. I believe there was something missing. It just did not grab me like others I have read.
On reflection, I feel quite dissatisfied with this book. The characters are bursting with potential but they feel as if they're charicatures - drawing only what's on the surface. The ending feels as limp as the crops that failed to grow in the harsh Patagonian climate. The morning after I finished it, I'm wondering what it was all about.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
The background research she does, along with her writing, can bring the most random settings to life. This time, Welsh colonists in Patagonia. She stays on my must-read list!
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Miserable and ulitimately just a bit dull - I gave up at around 35% because I just didn't care
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-group
Will post later
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Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and harrowing fictional account of the founding of Patagonia.
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Clare Dudman was born in North Wales. She has a PhD in Chemistry and has worked as a postdoctoral Research Associate in UMIST, a development scientist in industry, a science teacher, a lecturer and as a creative writing tutor for the WEA and the MA in creative writing at University College Chester. She is a member of the Welsh Academy.