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Green, Green My Valley Now [Paperback]

Richard Llewellyn
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Ending to an Engrossing Series Feb. 11 2004
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed finally seeing the end of what happened to Huw Morgan. But I was unable to be excited about the man, the character, as I once was. Perhaps there was so much promise in the little boy, with his idealism, the way he saw the world, coming to understand more, but still innocent. All this was present in the first book, and to a certain extent, in the next two in the series. Here, I see mostly a man who has grown weary of the world, tired. One who is well-traveled, and well-experienced, and not inspiring. He responds to adventure not as if it is adventure, but as someone who knows how to handle it, and endure it, for it is simply another step in life. There are some exciting times in the book. But most if the time I was left sad, that there was so much promise in this character to begin with, and now it seems here there is a man who can not stop thinking about any woman who is remotely pretty, and one who must have sex with any woman who gives him any amount of interest. There is a moment that you wait for throughout the book, hoping for, anticipating, and in the end are left disappointed, for there is very little revealed of this moment. And the romantic love that finally results is perhaps the least interesting, the least exciting, of all those in his life. It is as if Llewellyn simply grew tired of writing, and needed to finish up the book, to get it out to presses.
Yes, I'd still recommend it. For those like me, you have to know what happens in a man's life, and once the story begins, you need to know how it ends. And there is enough of the Welsh feel and history here to satisfy to some extent. But it may be less the Welsh idealism and love of life, and more a reflection of the dissatisfaction of the way things have turned out, almost a dour Scandinavian regret and angst.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Ending to an Engrossing Series Feb. 11 2004
By Jedidiah Palosaari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed finally seeing the end of what happened to Huw Morgan. But I was unable to be excited about the man, the character, as I once was. Perhaps there was so much promise in the little boy, with his idealism, the way he saw the world, coming to understand more, but still innocent. All this was present in the first book, and to a certain extent, in the next two in the series. Here, I see mostly a man who has grown weary of the world, tired. One who is well-traveled, and well-experienced, and not inspiring. He responds to adventure not as if it is adventure, but as someone who knows how to handle it, and endure it, for it is simply another step in life. There are some exciting times in the book. But most if the time I was left sad, that there was so much promise in this character to begin with, and now it seems here there is a man who can not stop thinking about any woman who is remotely pretty, and one who must have sex with any woman who gives him any amount of interest. There is a moment that you wait for throughout the book, hoping for, anticipating, and in the end are left disappointed, for there is very little revealed of this moment. And the romantic love that finally results is perhaps the least interesting, the least exciting, of all those in his life. It is as if Llewellyn simply grew tired of writing, and needed to finish up the book, to get it out to presses.

Yes, I'd still recommend it. For those like me, you have to know what happens in a man's life, and once the story begins, you need to know how it ends. And there is enough of the Welsh feel and history here to satisfy to some extent. But it may be less the Welsh idealism and love of life, and more a reflection of the dissatisfaction of the way things have turned out, almost a dour Scandinavian regret and angst. By the end, Llewellyn seems to present Huw as an anatype to represent the history of Wales, as it moves into a modern era controlled by England, and people desire their own control, but know in the depths of their being they will never fully control their own lives. This might be very accurate, and very revealing- but it is never enjoyable to read about someone who doesn't enjoy their own life, or fine enjoyment in the lives of their countrymen.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Early 1970s Welsh doldrums Feb. 18 2008
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In high school, three decades ago, I read the Welsh and Patagonian saga of Huw Morgan that began with, of course, "How Green is My Valley." Although the other day I came across a reference to the 1941 film version -- recall it won Best Picture Oscar in that remarkable year of "Citizen Kane"-- as "Hollywood schmaltz," the novels did have their moments of energy and conviction. Certainly I learned much about not only coal but cabinetry, life in the Argentinian frontier and the culture that the Welsh speakers sought to preserve in their dramatically sparse new land. What stayed with me past the admittedly heavy-handed emotional scenes was Llewellyn's conviction in the distinctive identity of his people.

His novels played for a mass-market audience, akin in retrospect to the epics of a Leon Uris as mid-20th century sagas, and so never earned the respect given critically to, say, Dylan Thomas, yet they remain for many a while back probably the average Anglo-American reader's introduction to a Welsh milieu. This belated end to Huw's Patagonian stint brings him back from the military corruption that strangles 1970s Argentina. Huw keeps his wealth, more or less, and in this novel appears limitlessly wealthy. I suppose the British economy was indeed at a low ebb then; he's able to buy up land and homes and fund a deserving student for three years at Heidelberg while he pays for or pays off conniving relatives from the Argentine who learn of his newly acquired bank account.

The novel, when I read it way back, had not stuck in my memory. Now I know why. It's surprisingly dull. Llewellyn's strongest gift was his narrative voice-- it rings true here as in his earlier installments of Huw's life. But, despite the women willing to throw themselves at this aging scion, and the intricate derring-do of Breton and Irish and Welsh nationalists who all conspire to foment pan-Celtic havoc, the whole question of what will happen to a Wales so down on its luck, and a Huw who manages to parlay his luck into one investment after another, human or financial, gives this effort a detached, airless quality. You do not care as much as the author intends about Huw and his relations and acquaintances.

Without the details of how to make a cabinet or mine coal that invigorated earlier storylines, the characters remain often inert. And, there's very little payoff in any return to the valley of his childhood, or any connections with his earlier novels that matter much. While this may stand as a small marker to a post-Investiture Welsh society still threatened by dams that obliterate villages, and convulsed by idealistic rebels, the blundering mayhem blamed on the Welsh who dare to act foolishly for the self-government that others remain only dreaming about turns the novel into not so much farce as indifference. Llewellyn castigates his countrymen for blunders and doubts they could ever rule themselves, and the whole Panglossian theme of cultivating one's estate and letting the rest run down appears to have escaped the eye of what once would have been a sharper observer of Welsh complacency.
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