Nothing like a praise-bomb of a review to brighten up a rainy Friday, and they don’t come much more quietly explosive than this, courtesy of the Independent’s Literary Editor, Boyd Tonkin
This beautiful book, with the many meanings of blindness and insight at its heart, traces a path not only between the visible and invisible worlds but between memory and imagination, past and present – and fact and fiction. Price, an academic at Bangor University, won the National Eisteddfod prize for prose in 2002; Lloyd Jones’s perfectly-pitched English version now graces MacLehose’s august list as its first translation from Welsh.
Price’s book achieves a rare feat indeed. A lovingly crafted account of Welsh-speaking rural life on the brink of dissolution or at least transformation, it serves both as a touching, tender document and as a thoroughly artful exercise in storytelling – one that, in methods and motifs, can claim a place on the shelf beside Berger, Sebald and Ondaatje. Widely hailed as the first Welsh classic of the 21st century, it now stands tall –whether great-aunt Rebecca would have liked it or not – as a peak of modern British writing too.