"Journalist, historian, travel writer, novelist, Jan Morris has guided countless readers through faraway places with her keen eye and eloquent turns of phrase. In this intimate and fascinating memoir, she invites us into her own home in the magical heartland of Wales." "Wales is a realm unto itself, ancient, unique, and unforgettable. In this craggy country lashed by the Atlantic dwell the last of the original Britons, a people with a colorful history and a language all their own. Long before English was spoken, Welshmen - cymry, in their native language - were composing epics in their lilting Celtic." "Morrises have inhabited this far western corner of Britain for centuries, and Trefan Morys - Jan Morris's house between the sea and the mountains - is the eighteenth-century stable block of her former family home nearby. Morris regards this modest building not only as a reflection of herself and her life but also as epitomizing Wales, which has for centuries defiantly preserved its own identity. In this fluent and welcoming book, she explores the colorful history of the house, then invites us inside for an entertaining and wide-ranging visit that touches on everything from her 8,000-volume library to the mementos and reminiscences of a wanderer's rich life - and the familiar yet intriguing pleasures of a Welsh fireside."--BOOK JACKET.
This book has no real narrative or plot. It is, as it sounds, a writer musing about her house in Wales, looking at how it fits in to Welsh history and into the countryside that surrounds it. The reader gets a good dose of Welsh culture. This is not the sort of book that can be read in one sitting. I read a few pages every night, and though the volume is short, it took me awhile to finish. Though the author is writing about her home, this is very much travel writing, in that it allows the reader to escape to a totally different place, and experience part of that world. For me, this was a rambling, amusing, and pleasant way to pass some time.
Jan Morris, the renowned travel writer, chose to write about her home, which, as the titles shows, is quite literary about the house she lives in, more than about Wales in general.
The result is a rather self-indulgent description of her home, which often feels drawn out to fill the pages, and make sure to produce enough copy. It verges on the edge of vanity.
A Writer's House in Wales is the penultimate work of an author who has come to the end of her career as a writer. Since she is most well-known as a travel writer, describing far-away places, it seems fitting that in her last-but-one work she comes, or rather, stays home. A sympathetic volume, but of little interest.
I would recommend that readers start with the afterword about the Welsh language, in order to avoid mentally butchering the pronunciation of the Welsh names.