Tumult and disorder, frustration, wages, strikes, riots, debts – were these to be his world? Ugliness, squalor and meanness was their portion. And yet, and yet . . . They had the full tarnished brilliance of life in them. And he began to laugh, with a soft low sound, half caught in his throat.
“the most sustained literary examination of Welsh industrial history ever published and certainly the least ideologically distorted” Meic Stephens
A Time to Laugh is set in a coal-mining valley on the eve of the 20th century against a background of industrial unrest and social change. The old certainties of pastoral Rhondda have given way to a new age of capital and steam, and life in the Valley has been transformed by strike, riot and gruelling poverty.
Tudor Morris, a young doctor, has returned to the valley where his father has a practice, and is immediately drawn into the tumult and excitement of the fight for fair pay and conditions. He is expected to marry his childhood sweetheart Mildred, the daughter of a local solicitor but he is inexorably drawn to the passionate ideals and charms of Daisy, the sister of one of the leaders of the workers movement. Is Tudor going to follow the conventions of his class or break with tradition or gamble his life and future with the fortunes of the struggle of the people?