Friday, 3 April 2009

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies


The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

It seems this book wasn't what I thought it was about, but that was just fun.

It's a book about 3 people, even though it focuses mostly on 2 of them. First there is a Jewish captain who is sent to see if Rudolf Hess is crazy or not. He is being held prisoner in Welsh. Then there is the main focus of the story, Esther, a 17 year old Welsh girl. She works in the local pub, and she longs to see more of the world outside. She meets a soldier, Colin, an English soldier who is there building a POW camp.

It's also the story of a German soldier, we meet him before he was capture and learns why he went to war. And then he end up in a Welsh POW camp.


Rooted in the story is the word cynefin, it has no English meaning. It has to do with the sheep, they know where to stay on the hill and never venture further. The know where they belong. It's seen through out the novel, Esther wants to escape, the Jewish captain who's mother is Lutheran and he is too, still he had to flee. And he keeps saying he is not Jewish. And at last, Karsten, the POW, who ordered his men to surrender to save them, and is troubled by this.

There is also the nationalistic angle in this book, the Welsh frown upon the English that is everywhere and they can't even write letters in Welsh cos the censures can't understand it.

It's a good book, I read it easily and I wanted to know what would happen. It was very well-written, but even if I didn't love the book it was worth reading

Not that I so much about Rotheram, the Jewish captain but he was an interesting character. He started and ended the book. I did like Esther, I felt that I could understand her and her doubts. And I even liked Karsten. It's not a book that points and says he is the bad guy, no they all have faults, and they all have those things that make you understand them. He has managed to capture something genuine in this book.

I will give the book a 3/5, because even if it was a great book, I felt it was just ok. Worth reading yes, but that all depends on the person reading.




15 comments:

  1. This book does sound interesting. I get the impression the author is a Welshman? Hence the Nationalistic quality to the book.

    Is it a romance set in the backdrop of war?

    Great thoughts and review.

    Thanks so much. :)

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  2. Yup he is Welsh so it does show, and I do love Wales too ;)

    I had a hard time putting a label on this book cos there isn't much romance. It's just life back home while a war is taking place

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  3. That is the sense I received from your review, so you relayed your thoughts very well! :)

    L

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  4. Good to know :)
    Sure a lot of romance would have been nice, but I was happy with the little I got. It fitted the story

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  5. Nice review but I'm on the fence. Not sure if it's something I'd like to read or not. Usually when things are just ok I tend to skip them.

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  6. I've wanted to read this one for awhile. Thanks for the review!

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  7. Dar, yeah it's not a book that I would recommend to all. Wellwritten,, yes, interesting..to a certain degree.

    You are welcome marie :D

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  8. Oddly, until the other day, I had thought you were Welsh, Blodeuedd, because of your username. I'm going to have to add this book to my wishlist :-)

    BTW, I've given you an award :-) http://thekoolaidmom.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/bring-on-the-zombie-chickens/

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  9. Lol, yeah I know, I love my Welsh name, even if I am not the tiny bit Welsh :9

    Thanks :D I am so honored

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  10. Good review. I enjoyed this book, if only because I so rarely see literary fiction that's set in Wales. I see romance, even mysteries, but not literature in English with Welsh people and their interests.

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  11. I never thought about it that way, but now when I think about it I see you are right. I have read many historicals and romance, but I can't recall anything than that

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  12. Sounds like an interesting book. I like to read a lot of WWII books, so I'll have to keep this one in mind. Would it be okay if I linked to your review on War Through the Generations? We have a WWII reading challenge going on right now.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  13. Hi Anna, I actually saw that challenge :) But I seldom read WWWII books (more WWI books).
    But I'd be happy if you linked my review to it :)

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  14. I haven't read any WWI books. But we'll be holding a challenge for those at some point. Thanks for letting me link, which I've done here.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  15. Hi Anna,
    I just like the WWI poets so that made me read about the war. It was just so awful.

    Thanks for letting me know :)

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