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How Green Was My Valley (1939)

por Richard Llewellyn

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,255557,055 (4.12)186
How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn's bestselling-and timeless-classic, as well as the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn's characters fight, love, laugh, and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porkatiebean70, McGregorlibrary, biblioteca privada, 2665Lover, NickTaipei, fogus, jcm790, shirfire218, Nohosky, Kringla
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How Green Was My Valley immerses us in the middle of life in a coalmining village of Wales. It does so very effectively by having the narrator reflect back on his life, as he is now leaving his beloved village. This is truly a classic, the writing is stunning in its beauty and lyrical quality.

We are introduced to the young Huw Morgan and his loving, close-knit family. Our emotions are in for some heart wrenching experiences quickly. Huw's father and brothers work in the mines, as do almost all of the men in the village. His brothers are starting to stir up unrest by speaking out for Unions. When Huw guides his mother to the location of one of their meetings at her request, they end up getting lost in a blizzard on the way home. The mother falls in the stream and Hugh manages to get under her saving her life, but nearly killing himself in the process, and badly breaking his leg. He is bedridden for several years. It is the local pastor who eventually gets him back up on his feet and slowly able to walk again. They develop a lifelong deep bond of friendship.

The depiction of family, home life, and life in the village is stunning in its warmth and detail. From the food to the clothing to the furniture and everything else you can think of, it is all to be found in this story. The descriptions of food and its preparation will have your mouth watering. I absolutely loved the quaint pattern of speech the villagers used.

Huw's older siblings are starting to marry and dramas of love and broken hearts, even to the point of madness, unfold for us now.

Always, we are aware that tragedy and hard times loom on the horizon for Huw, his family and the village. The coalmining situation is untenable and the slag heaps grow bigger by the day. It's inevitable that one day they will overrun the village, though that's a distant future no one is willing to think about.

I did not like the violence, in the form of fighting and boxing, that was a big part of Welsh men's lives as depicted in this book. I especially didn't like that Huw, otherwise a very intelligent, sensitive, warm and loving boy participated in, and was even instructed in, violent fighting; in fact severely injuring several men throughout the story. The rampant prejudice and injustice perpatrated on the Welsh by the English was also disheartening, as was the villagers' own hypocrisy and religious zealotry which led to outrages of abuse and violence against those whom they condemned on moral grounds.

It is nothing short of miraculous how the writing encompasses all of this, and all of these people's lives and dramas, in this book; how deftly it is crafted. And we always know we must prepare ourselves for the ending. While you won't know exactly how it will unfold; darkness, sadness and tragedy are foreshadowed from the very beginning of the book. This is one of those classic stories that you will never forget. ( )
  shirfire218 | Jun 7, 2024 |
Powerful and moving. ( )
  sfj2 | Mar 17, 2024 |
I don't usually rate books that I haven't finished, but with Goodreads' new policy regarding reviews I've decided to change my own reviewing & rating policy. This is so that my average rating is a better reflection of my reading, because I don't bother finishing books that I dislike enough to rate lower than a 3 star. There are millions upon millions of books to experience, and life is too precious to waste it slogging through books I'm not enjoying.

I finished about half the book before abandoning. The characters were interesting, but the plot moved far too slowly. I struggled with the self-righteous, misogynistic, Victorian morality and attitudes. I understand it was the norm for the time period, but I really wanted to kick all the male characters in the teeth. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
This novel is a coming-of-age story set in the Welsh coal mining region that blends sentimental nostalgia with gritty reality. The narrator is Huw Morgan, the 8th of 9 children and the youngest son in a family of coal miners. An accident in Huw's childhood makes him unable to walk for several years and during that time he develops a passion for reading that leads to him going on to higher levels of education than the rest of his family.

Through the novel Huw observes the conflicts between the miners and the companies that own the mines that leads to union organizing and strikes. Huw's father Gwilym and some of his brothers are opposed to activism while other brother are labor organizers. Over time the declining fortunes in the valley lead to Huw's siblings leaving Wales to try their luck elsewhere. Huw also observes the environmental degradation to the valley by the mining operations. The novel also deals with gossip and scandals in the valley such as affairs and unplanned pregnancy. While Gwilym supports Huw's education, his mother Beth is firmly against it, especially when Huw's teacher only speaks in English and discriminates against the Welsh.

There are apparently a whole series of books about Huw Morgan, but I think I've had my fill of Huw. The style of writing is too old-fashioned for my taste although I can see why it's considered a classic novel. I once watched the film adaptation of How Green Was My Valley as a teenager (mainly because I had a crush on Maureen O'Hara) but I don't remember it at all. I will have to rewatch the movie and see how faithful it is to the book. ( )
  Othemts | Jan 18, 2023 |
I really enjoyed this one about a boy growing up in the Welsh coal fields. Good observations on life, death, sex (in a good way), etc. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
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To my father and the land of my fathers
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I am going to pack my two shirts with my other socks and my best suit in the little blue cloth my mother used to tie round her hair when she did the house, and I am going from the Valley.
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It is very strange to think back like this, although come to think of it, there is no fence or hedge round Time that has gone. You can go back and have what you like if you remember it well enough.
Singing was in my father as sight is in the eye.
Along the river it was, outside the village, and in that day a little paradise, with the river so clear and broadly green, and silver about the rocks, and willows bending to wash, and reeds in plenty for the frogs, and fish for the herons, and quiet for the ducks and little water-hens.
Dear little house that I have lived in, there is happiness you have seen, even before I was born. In you is my life, and all the people I have loved are a part of you, so to go out of you, and leave you, is to leave myself.
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.
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How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn's bestselling-and timeless-classic, as well as the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn's characters fight, love, laugh, and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.

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