The Latest and Final Book for Lloyd?

26 Jun 2009

This week sees the publication of award-winning novelist Lloyd Jones’ first Welsh-language novel,  Y Dŵr. (Y Lolfa) However, the author has simultaneously announced that this will be his final book.

The Latest and Final Book for Lloyd?
Tipped by many as a rising star in Welsh literature, Lloyd won the highly acclaimed McKitterick prize in 2005 for his first novel,  Mr Vogel,  and the Wales Book of The Year (English language) in 2007 for his second novel,  Mr Cassini.

Consequently, readers have been eagerly awaiting his third novel,  Y Dŵr.

The book follows the trials and tribulations of a Welsh family living on a rural farm, trying to make ends meet in extreme poverty. Each member copes with the situation differently, but they all have one thing in common – the farm and their uncertain future.

Lloyd Jones was 50 years old when he decided to write his first book in 2001, following a breakdown which he attributes partly to the stress of being the production editor of nine newspapers. His life fell to pieces, as he turned to the bottle and lived rough for 9 months. In the end, it was a matter of life or death.

Lloyd explains, "In the end, every alcoholic has one choice – to live or to die. I chose life, and have led a totally different life since then. I decided to walk all around Wales which is nearly 1,000 miles, and following that journey I wrote my first book,  Mr Vogel".

His second book,  Mr Cassini,  was described in a review by the  Independent as ‘a book whose structure is at times infuriatingly absent, at others just as infuriatingly powerful . . . but is a book that should be read and re-read’.

The author readily admits that his two first books were a bit different. He says, "Both my first novels were quite odd. I didn’t actually realise how odd I was until I wrote them! But people who are familiar with my work may be surprised by my third novel,  Y Dŵr,  as it is nothing like the other two."

"This was the easiest to write by far. It’s a book about the future, and what worries me about the world today. I feel we are losing control of things, and making a mess of it. But I’m not trying to dig too deep in the book – it’s a straight-forward, simple book."

Alun Jones, who edited the book on behalf of Y Lolfa said, "Lloyd is an extremely modest author, and this is quite unique – he has won prizes for his two English novels, but remains humble, very affable and truly one of the easiest authors I’ve ever worked with."

"It would be a great shame if this were to be his last novel. Lloyd Jones is a new voice that’s worth reading. His prose is unnerving and thought-provoking – this novel will knock you sideways, and make you stop and think. I can’t promise that I will let him go without a fight!"  

But what is the reason for Lloyd’s decision, given the ready praise which has come his way thus far?  

He explains, "This is the end of a journey for me. I will continue writing for my own pleasure, but I have no intention of publishing more books – I’ve achieved what I wish to achieve. I enjoy taking photos, and plan to follow an arts course over the winter, so maybe I will try to move into that area. I also want to travel a lot more and see the world. I’m nearly 58 now, so it’s important for me to make the most of my life."

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