Angharad Tomas The Daily Post July 2, 2014
New review of A Welsh Dawn by Lyn Ebenezer
A Welsh Dawn is a story of growing up in the 1950s, my awakening years as a teenager. The tensions are all here. Stirrings of sexual awareness. The fate of the Welsh language. The drowning of Tryweryn. Direct action versus negotiation. The clash between heritage and materialism. Between young aspirations and those who are too resigned to strive for change. There is the north and south divide, Caernarfon and the Rhondda. Soccer and rugby. Yes, I’ve been there, done it and worn the T-shirt. The difference is that Gareth Thomas says it so much better than I ever could.
It would have been easy for a story of such contrasts to become clichéd and hackneyed, with the main players becoming no more than cardboard cut-outs. But no, every character is skilfully crafted and well-rounded. And the main events as well as some of the characters are based on reality, involving actual people such as Huw T. Edwards and Henry Brooke, Emrys Roberts and Gwynfor Evans.
Such a mixture of fact and fiction has demanded much detailed research. Yet the author has avoided a mere re-hash of recent Welsh history. Fact and fiction are interwoven seamlessly, so much so that it felt as if I was learning of those political events for the very first time. In a postscript, the events of the 1950s are put in context. We are reminded of the important subsequent milestones between 1959 and 1999: the Beasley’s relentless fight for their linguistic rights, the formation of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the appointment of a Welsh Secretary of State, Gwynfor Evans’s electoral success and the first convention of a National Assembly for Wales.
This is an epic novel in every sense of the word. In it I rediscovered parts of myself.
|Daily Post Friday July 18th 2014|