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My Father's Places

Aeronwy Thomas

8 Reviews

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Biography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

The highly acclaimed memoir of growing up with Dylan Thomas

In 1949, after years of nomadic existence, nine-year-old Aeronwy Thomas and her family arrived at the Boat House in Laugharne, a small village on the Welsh coast. Here her father, the poet Dylan Thomas and mother, Caitlin, hoped to find peace, a place to settle and work.

In Laugharne Dylan began some of his most famous works, including Under Milk Wood. Mornings were spent in Brown's Hotel, listening to the gossip at Ivy William's kitchen table. In the afternoons Caitlin would lock the poet into a shed in the garden, where he sat speaking his verse aloud as he wrote, or composed begging letters to patrons and friends. Often he would head off to London, and old haunts.

Little Aeronwy enjoyed the new world around her. In the Boat House, ruled over by Caitlin, there was baby Colm and in the holidays visits from big brother Llewellyn, as well as Dolly, the cleaner and cook, and the house became a refuge for village characters, including Booda the deaf, mute ferry man. The memoir paints scenes of sudden drama and poetry: reading Wind in the Willows with her father in the evenings; fish treading in the mud below the house with her mother; afternoons with Grandma Flo and DJ at the Pelican.

Dylan's fame grows and he tours the United States to read his poetry. Aeronwy watches as the marriage fractures, and at last the poet dies in New York, far away from his children. My Father's Places is a deeply moving portrait of growing up and an insight into the origins and the legacy of Dylan Thomas's poetry.

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Praise for My Father's Places

  • An enchanting book on every level, Aeronwy Thomas is not just her father's daughter but a skilled author in her own right - Jennifer Worth, author of Call the Midwife

  • It [the Boathouse] looks a magical place for a child to explore - and so it proves in Aeronwy's clear-eyed, Laurie Lee-like memories of mudflats and sandbanks, picnics, swimming and going cockling ... this enchanted but unsentimental book ... of her wonderfully vivid childhood - is profoundly moving. - Daily Mail

  • A moving memoir ... beautifully drawn. - The Sunday Times:

  • A fantastic memoir ... both touching and humourous - Image magazine, Book of the Month

  • A captivating portrait of life in the often happy, often chaotic Thomas household. - South Wales Evening Post

  • Picaresque, chaotic and moving - Big Issue

  • Highly evocative, moving and melancholy - The Sunday Times

  • Portrays a chaotic childhood with unsentimental grace...touching. - New York Times

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Aeronwy Thomas

Aeronwy Thomas is the only daughter of Dylan Thomas and Caitlan. She was a poet as well as a worldwide ambassador for her father's work, and president of the Dylan Thomas Society. She frequently travelled and lectured on her parents and her own poetry. She died in July 2009.

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