Reviews - What do customers think about In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl?
Just how green was my valley? May 20, 2001
Certainly a great book by a great writer. The questions that arise would not be important if the book were less important. A problem I've recently had with several first person narratives of traumatic childhoods (McCourt and Azzopardi for instance) is whether they are supposed to be fiction. This is described as a novel but the grandmother is given the name of the author's grandmother, and the writer steps in as omniscient narrator to discuss the sociology of the Rhondda Valley in a way that would only be justified if she were describing facts rather than fiction. She attributes the present decline to unemployment and yet previous years of unemployment and poverty gave rise to the culture described by Gwyn Thomas, and in Parnell's memoirs, and in Meic Stephens' anthology. The window of prosperity was brief. Were the valleys ever really full of chapel-goers, Welsh-speakers, poets, Marxists, singers, and auto-didacts?