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Book Discussions - 100 list > How Green Was My Valley

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message 1: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn was voted to be our group read for June 2018 from our list of 100 Books They Didn't Tell Us About.

message 2: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) I started reading this a few days ago and now I'm pretty far along. I hope there are others who are reading it or who have read it, so we can discuss it before it turns to fog in my brain.

message 3: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Done. This book is considered a classic and rightfully so. The writing is both elegant and quaint. Like a memoir in structure, it is the story of a boy who grows up in a coal mining village in Wales near the end of the Victorian era.

message 4: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) The prose is so simple and yet so elegant. The colloquial Welsh is charming.

This passage is perhaps the most poetic description of lovemaking I think I've ever read:

“O, Huw,” she said, and put an arm slowly about my neck and pulled me down to kiss me, with strength that was savage, and sounds were in her throat, and round movements tormented her body, and the grip of her fingers left bruises for days to come. And I had a madness hot within me that was of the mouth and the fingers and the middle. No man shall know what gods are working in him, then.
The mouth reaches for newer fruit that seems to be near, but never to be tasted. The fingers are intent on searchings to soft places, but the senses are too far from their tips and impatient of their fumblings. And at the middle where the arrow steel is forged, there is a ruination of heat that seems to know, within itself, that coolness will come, only in the hotter blood of woman. There is itch to find the pool, twistings to be free to search, momental miracles of rich anointments, sweet splendours of immersion, and an urgency of writhings to be nearer, and deeper, and closer. In that kissing of the bloods there is a crowding of sense, when breathing is forgotten, muscle turns to stone, and the spinal branch bends in the bowman’s hand as the singing string is pulled to speed the arrow.
And in its flight it reaches to a rarer height than can be found in earth. An anthem rages as a storm, with chanting in poetries that never knew a tongue, and loud, strange music, and crackling fires of primal colours burst behind the sight-blind eyes and myriads of blazing moons rise up to spin for ages in a new-born golden universe of frankincense and myrrh.
Then the tight-drawn branch is weak, for the string has sung its song, and breath comes back to empty lungs and a trembling to the limbs. Your eyes see plainly. The trees are green, just the same as they were. No change has come. No bolts of fire. No angels with a flaming sword. Yet this it was that left the Garden to weeds. I had eaten of the Tree. Eve was still warm under me.
Yet still no bolt, no fire, no swords.
Only the song of a thrush, and the smell of green, and the peace of the mountain side.
And Ceinwen, lying quiet, with a trembling when she reached for breath, and making sounds, then, like the fingers of the wind through the high notes of the harp, with tears passing softly from the corners of her eyes, and her hair, fallen among the grass in bright, curving coils that shone.
She opened her eyes and looked up at me, and she sighed a little bit, and a breath got caught on the crag of a sob, and she swallowed deep to be rid of it.
“O, Huw,” she said, and put limp arms about me. “Sweetheart mine, what did you do?”
“I loved you,” I said.
“Glad I am I never knew,” she said. “Oh, glad I am the first is you. There will never be another. Sweetheart mine, only you.”
“Peach blossom,” I said, and kissed her, and sat, to look down in the Valley.
How green was my Valley that day, too, green and bright in the sun.

Llewellyn, Richard. How Green Was My Valley (pp. 381-382). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

message 5: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Mills (nancyfaym) | 73 comments I read it not so long ago ... it is absolutely beautiful prose.

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine I have just finished this book and would like to thank our member Subramanian who originally suggested it for our 100 books list. It's an excellent book. I love the fact that the conversations are written how Welsh is spoken. It reminds me of Thomas Hardy's writing were he is looking back on a time long past.

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