How Green Was My Valley, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A poignant coming-of-age novel set in a Welsh mining town, Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley is a paean to a more innocent age, published in Penguin Modern ClassicsGrowing up in a mining community in rural South Wales, Huw Morgan is taught many harsh lessons - at the kitchen table, at Chapel and around the pit-head.

Looking back on the hardships of his early life, where difficult days are faced with courage but the valleys swell with the sound of Welsh voices, it becomes clear that there is nowhere so green as the landscape of his own memory.

An immediate bestseller on publication in 1939, How Green Was My Valley quickly became one of the best-loved novels of the twentieth century.

Poetic and nostalgic, it is an elegy to a lost world.Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd (1906-1983), better known by his pen name Richard Llewellyn, claimed to have been born in St David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales; after his death he was discovered to have been born of Welsh parents in Hendon, Middlesex.

His famous first novel How Green Was My Valley (1939) was begun in St David's from a draft he had written in India, and was later adapted into an Oscar-winning film by director John Ford.

None But the Lonely Heart, his second novel, was published in 1943, and subsequently made into a film starring Cary Grant and Ethel Barrymore.

As well as novels including Green, Green My Valley Now (1975) and I Stand on a Quiet Shore (1982), Llewellyn wrote two highly successful plays, Poison Pen and NooseIf you enjoyed How Green Was My Valley, you might like Barry Hines' A Kestrel for a Knave, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.'Vivid, eloquent, poetical, glowing with an inner flame of emotion'The Times Literary Supplement


Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A very Welsh story of a mining family a classic of our times i wish more people would read it

Review by

I'm afraid I was just glad to finally be done with How Green Was My Valley. It's one of the most popular of the Welsh books I've read -- the one whose popularity has been most enduring, anyway -- and it's hard to understand why, when comparing the cloyingly nostalgic and sentimental story here to the vivacious and real work of Jack Jones and even Caradoc Evans. I guess that's it, though: it's nostalgic and sentimental and it lets the reader feel all weepy about industrialised Wales, without anger or overt political leanings. B.L. Coombes and Lewis Jones weren't mourning for a hopelessly lost past, but arguing in their moment for change, for fairness, for their lives.<br/><br/>Richard Llewellyn was writing after the fact, I read, based on other people's memories. He didn't live it, so he could afford to look on it with purple-prose tinted glasses. And I wonder how much he came in contact with Welsh Nonconformism, because the chapel was a part of his story but it definitely didn't have the same effect I see even in more modern Welsh work like Emyr Humphreys'.<br/><br/>So, maybe I would have enjoyed How Green Was My Valley more if I hadn't read it at the same time as I was reading the hard, unshowy works by working class writers who were also miners. It definitely suffered in comparison with the passion of those, and spoke much more to nostalgia. It does capture something of Wales, I think -- parts of it made me feel hiraeth so fiercely -- and parts of the story are compelling, but I don't want to pine after a long-gone Wales. The work of the miner-writers might no longer be relevant, but Wales was very alive to them, and I'd rather spend time with that.

Also by Richard Llewellyn

Also in the Penguin Modern Classics series   |  View all