white ravens by owen sheers

 This novella is part of a project from poetry Wales to retell the epic Welsh folk tale Mabinogion ,this is the first of eleven stories due over the next couple of years it was publish late last year .

  Owen Sheers was familiar to me from his television appearances on numerous poetry programmes ,he decide to tackle “Brawen,daughter of llyr ” for his novella white ravens .His interpretation moves the story to the second world war and telling the story of Mathew O Connell a Irish man who  came over to england at the start of the war to fight and eventually get injured in  due course which is where the story really starts as he is hand a secret assignment to fetch some new ravens for the tower of london .He has to go to a farm in  deepest Wales ,he arrives a little early for the chicks so stays at the farmer house with a brother and sister and over the course of time falls in love with the sister and heads back to Ireland  after delivering the chicks .where they marry and start a new life but not all goes well to find out more you ll have to read the book .

“can I take a look?” Mathew asked,approaching the table.”just a peek,” ben said  “They’ve only jus’ settled.Don’t want get ’em all worked up again”

scene where Mathew first meets the ravens at the farm

         Sheers writing is poetic and the two main characters are well-rounded and believable .having not read the original its hard to tell if this is a good interpretation of the story .the original is available in  a newish edition from Oxford world classics .many thanks to

bookrabbit for send me this.

   do you like modern retelling of folk tales ?

    do you think poets make great novelists ?

January 2010


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