On the Black Hill is an elegantly written homage to the inelegant life of rural Wales, a life in which no one ever strays far from the farm--there are few opportunities and little motivation to do so. Spartan lives are enriched by stories and gossip, slights are never forgotten, feuds reach epic intensity, and bottled-up frustrations simmer till they explode. Through rich and vivid descriptions of the minutiae of daily existence, we come to know twin brothers Lewis and Ben Jones as they grow up and are shaped by their family and their small community. The townspeople become our own friends or enemies, depending on their behavior towards the twins, and we empathize with them as they use their limited resources to struggle with the Big Questions which concern us all--questions of life, love, spirituality, death, cruelty, justice, and ultimately, happiness. By paring life to the bone here, Chatwin gives us a classic example of the adage, "Less is more."