Yet another fabulous Gwyn Thomas read. One of his earliest novels, set in the depression years in the Rhondda, it was thought too powerful for tender-hearted readers and turned down repeatedly by publishers who thought it would literally sicken readers. But what a read! It was eventually published posthumously by his wife in 1986.
He explores the reactions of three brothers to the widespread unemployment and bleakness of the Rhondda once King Coal began its decline, hastened by the Treaty of Versailles when cheap German coal was dumped on the market as part of its WW1 reparations.
The Valleys had trapped its people, chained to the production of coal with no other options on the horizon. The once-beautiful mountains had grown ugly, poisoned by giant pyramids of coal waste, a constant and depressing reminder of how the people were exploited and abandoned to ill health, coughing up their lungs in bleak terraced cottages.
How each brother handles this hopelessness gives Thomas full rein for his life-long, powerful socialist rhetoric. Be prepared to be shocked and fascinated at the same time.
Sorrow for Thy Sons is available on Amazon