An excursion into winter from last October to March of this year. Clare’s sporadic diary of its challenges, mostly in Yorkshire and in Wales, is by turns quietly ecstatic, introspective and bedevilled. As ever, his prose rings clear and true.
“It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobbledstreets silent and the hunched courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.”
Commissioned by the BBC, and described by Dylan Thomas as ‘a play for voices’, Under Milk Wood chronicles a single day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub.
A magnificent novel about rural life in the remote Welsh borders in the years after WW2. Characterisation and language are exceptionally rendered; the plot is quite simply the passage of time, the unrolling of modest lives and the pressing-in from all sides of modernity – the latter often enough resolutely, indeed indefatigably, ignored. There are flashes of humour too when one least expects them, and obdurate conflicts. This book is firmly in the lead of our own ‘Anti-Booker Prize’ list.