"At the heart of Dai Country - the central valleys of twentieth-century South Wales from the 1930s to the Wales which still command serious attention." - The New Companion to the Literature of Wales
At the heart of Dai Country - the central valleys of twentieth-century South Wales from the 1930s to the 1970s - was the metropolis of Pontypridd, and it is from this vantage point in time and space that Alun Richards casts his baleful eye on the personal relationships and social ambitions of the inhabitants of this much-fabled country. In this compendium volume, the best of his short stories, as funny and savage as they are scathing and compassionate, are combined with his entrancing autobiographical memoir Days of Absence to take us to the core of those incomparable valleys, with their lived experience stripped bare for once of their usual cloak of cliché and sentiment.
About the author:
Alun Richards was born in Pontypridd in 1929. From the 1960s he was, and successfully so, a full-time writer and published novels and collections of short stories as well as plays for stage and radio, original screenplays and adaptations for television, including BBC’s Onedin Line. He died in 2004.
On 8 May, 2004, a blue Saab 9.3 pulled to a stop on the lower end of Michael’s Road in Blaencwm, and from the passenger side door a tall man, a broad man, dressed in a dark suit and dark glasses, stepped out onto the road and waited for the other occupants to join him on the street. From the driver’s side appeared a significantly shorter man, with close-cropped grey hair and moustache, an equally dark suit and dark glasses; and their wives emerged, elegant in tight dresses, no less charismatic, the whole vision like a valleys version of the Corleones. The women walked beside their husbands up the road toward a small crowd gathered in front of a house; the terrace of which it was a part was framed by an arc of mountain, cliff and waterfall under bright-blue, late-spring sky: a fusion of Rhondda and Hollywood, much like the prose – fiction and autobiography of the taller of the two men, Alun Richards, writer and raconteur. He’d come to unveil a commemorative plaque to his fried, the Rhondda prose gangster, Ron Berry.