Angharad Price's second novel is a fiendishly difficult work to categorise, mixing fact with fiction, and archival black and white photography with enchanting and lyrical prose. This is, for want of a more satisfactory interpretation, a mix of social history and poetic fiction.
Price, a senior lecturer in Welsh at Bangor University, is an endearing host, taking us through the good and bad years of the Jones family's history. Her pages travel through the hardships of subsistence farming in rural Wales as memories rush towards the reader in a near "continuous flow".
This is a world where adversity and victory is met universally with the same stoic and unblinking expression. When her brothers are sent away to school (ostensibly for a better life), Rebecca tells us they are there to learn the virtues of "hierarchy, discipline, independence ... and the chill of the dorm". When the family's farm is transformed by the arrival of a tractor she tells us "a certain innocence was lost". It is a world too, where the lush landscape broods with a quiet purpose and near poetic stillness.