Monday, 19 August 2013

Shalee lhaih 2013: Shiaghtin 33

Jerrey treeoo hiaghtin jeih as feed ny Shallee Lhaih. Shoh ny lhiah mee yn çhiaghtin shoh chaie:

Storiau Glannau Ystwyth (Guittone Gardi)

Shoh lioar dy skeealyn 'jeant far-skeealagh' er bun e chooinaghtyn hene er bea 'sy Vretyn. Anaasoil, aitt son y chooid smoo, as treih nish as reesht. Er lhiam nagh row eh cooie dy dug eh skeeal doo ec y jerrey; share lhiam ren ennagh gennoil verragh jerrey taitnyssagh er y lioar. Chammah's shen, t'eh gra ny nee ass firrinys dy daink ny skeealyn shoh; wahll my she, er lhiams nagh row eh cooie skeeal y yannoo ass baase leah fer as enney echey er, gyn feanish er smooinaghtyn as aigney y dooinney. Ny yei shen, va'n lioar soilshaghey magh bea ny laghyn as ynnydyn shid, as ghow mee taitnys jee son y chooid smoo. Er y laue elley, by ghoillee dou ish y lhaih, er coontey'n aght screeuee feer formoil t'urree. Ga ny nee lioar 1950yn t'ayn, t'ee screeuit ayns Bretnish lettyragh 'ormoil, as cha nel mee cliaghtit rish lhiah agh raa ny ghaa 'syn aght shen, er fograghyn son y chooid smoo. Myr shen, cha yinnin greinnaghey sleih elley ee y lhaih mannagh vel Bretnish lane 'laaoil oc as mannagh vel ad cliaghtit rish yn aght lettyragh.

For All the Tea in China (Sarah Rose)

Lioar feer vie bentyn rish yn aght ghow ny Goaldee tey dou hene ass yn Çheen. She mestey mie t'ayn: bea-skeeal, shennaghys roish as erreish da taghytyn yn ard-skeeal, lus-oaylleeaght, cultoor ny Sheen as ny Victorianee, as sheiltynys er bun feanish. Er lhiams dy ren Rose briwnys fondagh er yn aght screeuee da lhaihderaght neucheirdey; t'ee eddrym dy liooar dy lhaih gyn doilleeid, agh cha nel ee follym noadyr. T'ee çheet er kianglaghyn t'eddyr tey as ny caggaghyn cadleen; jerrey yn East India Company as ny deiyrt er shen; slaynt ny Goaldee, as myr shen er shennaghys; cultoor; as tarmayrnys (bentyn rish yn Impiraght son y chooid smoo). Ta'n irree magh Injynagh, lhongyn 'tea clipper' as obbree Heenagh 'sy chooish myrgeddin. Rere cliaghtey ny lioaryn shoh er shennaghys Goaldagh, dennee mee beggan nearey as corree er son ny ren shennayraghyn aym, as anchairyssyn nagh vel kiartit foast (as cha dod oo kiartaghey, dy jarroo).

Ren baghteyrys ny ghaa gaccan nagh row mynphoyntyn dy liooar ayn, as shen bentyn rish troailtyn Fortune 'syn Çheen erskyn ooilley, chammah's e varelyn er ny ren as honnick eh. "Cre'n aght..." t'ad gra, as "nagh row drogh-ourys ec fer oik erbee er y fer quaagh shoh? nagh row ad lhiggey lesh er son slaa laue?" as y lheid. Agh ta'n lioar hene gra dy jagh pabyryn Fortune er stroaie, as cha nel agh recortyssyn oikoil formoil ayn myr feanish. Bentyn rish contoyrtyssyn, cha dod Rose agh aascreeu ny screeu Fortune hene 'sy lioar echey, as er lhiams nagh beagh shen ny share na cowraghey y lioar hene dasyn as anaase oc er y chooish, myr ren ee. Ta mooadys mie ec y lioar t'ayn hannah; cha nel mee laccal ny smoo.

S'treih lhiam fakin nagh vel Rose er screeu lioar elley foast.

Storiau Glannau Ystwyth (Guittone Gardi)

A book of 'romanticised reminisences' (a rough translation of the Welsh) based on the author's own life in the Ystwyth region of Wales. It's interesting, often funny, and sometimes sad. I felt that the last story was problematic, though. For one thing, in a book of largely cheerful tales, the choice of a long and tragic story seemed somewhat jarring and gave it a downer ending. More importantly, if this really is a reminiscence, I felt it was inappropriate to include a fictionalised (and somewhat poetic) version of a tragic early death like this, of a man the author presumably knew. It seems improbable he'd have any particular insight into what really happened or the man's actual feelings, and in general I was uncomfortable with it. If it isn't based on reality, then its inclusion seems bizarre.

On the whole I did quite enjoy it. However, there's a strong caveat because of the formal and antiquated style of the writing, which made this slender volume of short stories quite hard work to read. Despite being from the 1950s, it's in some of the most formal and literary Welsh I've seen, and I'm not used to reading more than a line or two at a time. So for that reason, I couldn't really recommend anyone else to read it unless they're entirely fluent and comfortable with the literary style. I also won't bother looking for more of his writing.

For All the Tea in China (Sarah Rose)

This interesting book discussed how a Scottish botanist made his fortune by stealing the secret of tea from Imperial China. A pleasant and well-balanced mixture of biography, historical background, botany, cultural discussion and informed speculation. It's well-judged for a lay audience, fairly light and easy to read without being fluffy; Rose Touches on the relationship of tea to issues like the opium wars, the end of the EIC and the changes that brought about, health and culture, and economic balance across the Empire. Note that it is based only on company and public records and the writings of others, as none of his own papers survived. Of course, there was the usual guilt stirred up by any book dealing with British history, and anger at some of the injustices that were inflicted.

A few reviews I've seen complained of a lack of detail, particularly in terms of Fortune's actual adventures in China, his encounters with the locals and with officialdom, and his views on all he encountered; the problem is, as far as I can see, that there isn't really much Rose could add. The only record of what Fortune did or said is his own book on his travels, since all his papers were destroyed after his death, and it seems to me there is little point Rose simply repeating his words, padding out a perfectly-sized book, when she's already directed us to the source.

I was very impressed with the book, and sad to see it's her only one so far.

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