Book & a Beer Bookclub
A poetic work of fiction on the one hand, an autobiography on the other, The Life of Rebecca Jones is a powerful, meditative work on one family’s passage through the twentieth century. In the early years of the last century, Rebecca is born into a rural community in the Maesglasau valley in Wales; her family have been working the land for a thousand years, but the changes brought about by modernity threaten the survival of her language, and her family’s way of life. Three of her siblings are afflicted with a genetic blindness, and it is they who have the opportunity to be educated elsewhere and to find work, while Rebecca and her remaining brother maintain the family farm amidst a gradual influx of new technologies, from the waterpipe to the tractor and telephone, and ultimately to television. Rebecca’s reflections on the century are delivered with haunting dignity and a simple intimacy, while her evocation of the changing seasons and a life that is so in tune with its surroundings is rich and poignant. The Life of Rebecca Jones has all the makings of a classic, fixing on a vanishing period of rural history, and the novel’s final, unexpected revelation remains unforgettable and utterly moving.