REVIEW by Tristan Hughes

NWR Issue 103

Everything I Have Almost Forgotten

by Owain Hughes

‘I was raised under Father’s principle of “plenty of benign neglect”,’ writes Owain Hughes near the beginning of this memoir of a 1940s and 50s childhood spent on and off at his family’s home on the banks of the Dwyryd estuary, opposite the village of Portmeirion. It’s a statement that’s difficult not to read in the light of his father’s most famous book.

Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica is one of the most startling and original portrayals of childhood in fiction. Cast adrift in various exotic locales – from colonial Jamaica to a pirate ship – the Bas-Thornton children prove themselves to be supremely adaptable, inhabiting mental worlds that are deeply private, and unsettlingly separate, from the adult world around them. For benign neglect, read independence and imaginative space: cut off from parental oversight, Richard Hughes’ fictional children thrive.

And so, in many ways, does his actual son. Under the minimal supervision of Richard and his wife, the artist Frances Bazely, Owain Hughes explores the mountains and seascapes of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula, falling in love with sailing and hiking, and revelling, along with his siblings, in ‘the unstructured, barefoot chaos of our lives....’

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Buy this book at gwales.com



       


previous review: Your Brother's Blood (The Walkin' Trilogy)
next review: Amy Dillwyn



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