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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The people who keep the Sabbath - and anything else they can lay their hands on, 27 Jun. 2011
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HuddsOn (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Neighbours (Paperback)
Caradoc Evans was, in his lifetime, accused of ridiculing and denigrating the people of Wales. But the chief target of his ire was not so much the Welsh people as a whole, but more specifically the (as he saw it) suffocating and ultra-parochial culture of the rural West, and that of the Welsh-speaking London exile community.

The petit-bourgeois London Welsh and their farming kinfolk back in the old country are both portrayed as a grasping, conniving bunch - they're forever on the lookout for ways to swindle their competitors, their business partners, and above all, their families - when they're not too busy impregnating their servant girls, that is. Economic injustice is all the more pernicious for not being recognised as such - class divisions are subsumed beneath a gloss of ethnic solidarity. Religious hypocrisy and sanctimony pervade the community like a septicaemia of the soul. Nonconformist Protestantism, far from promoting a sense of humility before God, becomes yet another occasion for egotistical competitiveness. A minister addresses his congregation thus: "Well-well, know you all the order of the service. Grand prayers pray last. Boys ordinary pray middle, and bad prayers pray first. Boys bach just beginning also pray first."

These tragicomic and occasionally hilarious tales depict a social environment that has largely disappeared, or at least been altered beyond recognition through globalisation and the mass media. But I can imagine they might strike a chord with anyone who comes from a tight-knit ethic minority community, and if nothing else they act as a salutary reminder of the dangers of romanticising traditional ways of life.

I would especially recommend this edition as it contains two stories that were deleted from the collection when first published, and an editorial afterword to fill us in the historical background.
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My Neighbours
My Neighbours by Caradoc Evans (Paperback - 28 May 2005)
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