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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2016
This is a book to savour. Although very short, it has a strange profundity. The story, set in Tynybraich in rural Wales, is about a family's loss, their love for each other and their resilience in the face of terrible adversity. Much of the book is devoted to the way three brothers in the family overcome the handicaps of blindness - and eventually triumph - and how their blindness determines the lives of the other family members too.

The book is beautifully written and crafted. Price's prose is deceptively simple and straightforward. She chooses her words with great care and precision and makes every word count. One really appreciates her brilliant, mesmerising, writing in the passages in which she describes, for example, the Welsh landscape and a simple family photograph. Price's love of language is evident on every page. Indeed, her writing often seems more like poetry than prose, more like painting than writing. It reads like the meandering stream in Maesglasau valley that she describes so vividly in the early part of the book.
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Fascinating. I have always known a (factual) version of this story because these blind boys were also my mother's cousins, or second cousins or something similar. The story inspired me even as a child because those boys were clever and did well. I don't speak Welsh, sadly nobody thought it was worth the bother of teaching me, so I read this little book in English. No doubt something was lost in translation, but do read it because it paints a fascinating picture of early twentieth century rural Wales. The descriptions chime with all the stories my mother and aunt told me of farm life in the 1920s and 30s. They were an educated bunch of people though, despite modest circumstances, living on tenant farms. My grandfather and mother both went to University; Aberystwyth and Bangor. There seems to have been a desire to educate themselves off the farm where life seems to have been very hard work. I have never heard of, and certainly don't know the writer of this book, but rather weirdly we are distantly related.
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on 23 January 2017
The Life of Rebecca Jones
This novel is written in the first person (by Rebecca) and lyrically describes life during the early part of the twentieth century on a family farm in a mid- north Wales valley. The farm has been in the family for generations and each chapter begins with a seasonal extract from a book of husbandry written by her great-grandfather.
The book begins with Rebecca’s parents arriving to take over the farm on their wedding day and follows her birth and her life as she grows up working on the farm and helping to look after her brothers, two of whom were born blind.
The two brothers were sent to special schools and because of this there was no money for Rebecca’s education. She stayed at home helping on the farm and working as a seamstress.
The book continues with delicate and convincing descriptions of the country and her life on the farm. She grows old and her parents die. This is an uplifting book and not sad – but the last paragraph on the final page may well bring tears to your eyes.
I strongly recommend this book but if you are one of those people who like to look at the ending of a book before reading it please don’t do it this time. And if you are lucky enough to be able to read Welsh do try the original Welsh version - O! Tyn Y Gorchudd gan Angharad Price . Mae e rhyfeddol!
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on 5 June 2014
I don't want to gush about this slim, unassuming volume, but I urge everyone, everyone to read this incredible book.

The prose imagery which sets the scene at the beginning of each of the chapters is a truly inspirational, rooting the reader comfortably and deeply in the sparce landscape of the Welsh Hills. The trials, the daily continuance of life, death, hard work, tragedies, sacrifices and forbearance coupled with the ever encroaching spectre of the modern world - how will the family cope after working the land for a thousand years?

Rebecca is 'our' guide, 'our' sister and 'our' fast friend, negotiating with knowing footsteps through the geography of both the Maesglasau valley and her family. The twist at the end of the book astounded me.

A special thank you Lloyd Jones the translator for bringing this wonderful literature to this English reader.
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on 9 June 2013
This was a book group read and I was so glad. It's a fascinating book and beautifully written. Translated from the original Welsh,it evokes life in rural Wales and you can visualise the characters and scenery vividly. Well worth reading.
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on 5 April 2017
I absolutely loved this book, I felt I was there, living in that world. It brought back happy memories of my childhood times on farms in north Wales fifty years ago, not the same, but enough to imagine her life.
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on 4 February 2013
The Life of Rebecca Jones. Angharad Price. Extraordinary ending that made one reread the book. Beautifully written with poetic images of life then.
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on 19 April 2015
One of my favourite books!
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on 8 July 2016
A modern classic.
Not the longest book, but every word counts.
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on 5 July 2013
One of the most moving books I have ever read and I am in my eighties.. More fact than fiction..A marvellous depiction of a traditional Welsh family in a remote Welsh valley
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