O’r Harbwr Gwag i’r Cefnfor Gwyn

O’r Harbwr Gwag i’r Cefnfor Gwyn

O'r Harbwr Gwag i'r Cefnfor Gwyn (From Empty Harbour to White Ocean) is Robin Llywelyn's second novel. In it the reader rediscovers the esoteric world of the author: its unique idiom, its fusion of fantasy and reality, its uncharted mindscapes and no man's land. A modern romance, it tells the story of a bewildered refugee, Gregor Marini, who loses his job and decides to leave his country, illegally. Bidding farewell to Alice, he makes his way through a multitude of semi-real, semi-fantastic territories, in a quest which echoes Celtic myth and legend. We follow him as he crosses the sea to reach a foreign city, where he finds work in a strange library cataloguing millions of books, and then on to Y Gogledd Dir (The Northern Land) and Y Gwynfyd (Elysium). Here he discovers a way of life threatened by hostile forces, and falls in love with Iwerydd. As the soldiers approach, they decide to leave Y Gwynfyd to start a new life. On the way, they are separated, before being finally reunited in New York. The unmapped landscapes in O'r Harbwr Gwag i'r Cefnfor Gwyn are explored with great ingenuity. Llywelyn varies his style to move with ease from the serious to the profound, from the humorous to the post-modern, whilst never losing his power to tell a story. Readers have been drawn to the book by undertones of themes of ethnic cleansing, recalling the conflict in Bosnia at the time of the novel's writing, and the novel's allegorical exploration of languages and cultures under threat. O'r Harbwr Gwag i'r Cefnfor Gwyn, published shortly after Llywelyn's astonishing first novel, Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn, confirms Llywelyn's reputation as one of Wales's foremost writers. In it the inventiveness of the Welsh narrative tradition stretching back to the twelfth-century romances, Y Mabinogion, is reawakened in a highly contemporary form.

Robin Llywelyn

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Publication details:

O’r Harbwr Gwag i’r Cefnfor Gwyn
Gomer (1995)