Si Hei Lwli

Si Hei Lwli
(Twilight Song)

The novel which won the prose medal at the 1991 National Eisteddfod as well as the high acclaim of the three adjudicators. First published January 1991.

Si Hei Lwli is a moving novel about old age, and about the determination of a young woman to take her great-aunt on a good day out. Bigw, now ninety something years old, lives alone amongst strangers in a soul-less nursing home, visiting her family only at Christmas when she is wheeled out to dirty her bib. But behind the tiny, worn face is a strong-willed, lucid individual, a Welsh-speaker who has known almost a century of love and bereavement, of joy and trepidation in her native Arfon. And so Eleni and Bigw set out in the car, crossing continents of emotion and rediscovering forgotten places of the heart in the hour's journey to lay flowers on the grave of the old woman's deceased sister.

The short drive, epic in significance, becomes an allegory for the journey of life, but, as ever, the path is strewn with obstacles. The building of modern highways, flyovers and roundabouts has completely transformed the landscape, and the landmarks one generation once lived by - a post office, a farmhouse, a by-road - survive now in memory only. Where can one go when places no longer exist? How can the act of arriving at a destination be fulfilling when only new roads lead there? In a prose at once unsentimental, disturbing and disarmingly naïve, Angharad Tomos describes the obscenity of Bigw's double alienation due, in part, to her great age: from her own flesh and blood on one hand, and from the physical environment of her youth on the other.

While Si Hei Lwli is not primarily a political work, it brings into focus, as do all Angharad Tomos books, the question of power which people may or may not have over their own destiny.

An English translation, Twilight Song, translated by Elin ap Hywel, was published by Gomer in 2004.

Angharad Tomos

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Publication details:

Si Hei Lwli
Y Lolfa (1991)