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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

The Dark Philosophers by Gwyn Thomas

The Dark Philosophers (Library of Wales) - Gwyn Thomas, Elaine Morgan


Description: Incest, murder, delusion and a devastating, tragic humor mark these three novellas that Gwyn Thomas wrote in 1946: The Dark Philosophers, Oscar, and Simeon. In this book the grimly humorous philosophers gather in an Italian café in the terraces to tell the tragic tale of comeuppance and manslaughter that they engineer.

St. David's weekend read inbetween six nation matches, and the cooking and eating of bakestones. Three novellas here and first up is:

PART I: OSCAR: Rainwater streamed down the walls of the Harp. It had rained for a week.

Narrated by Lewis, who works for the eponymous hog. With dark humour, Oscar's Boy relates his own, and other elements' verdict, on the man who owns the mountain. Elements are anything from people to objects. Voters are adults.

The lip of the quarry we were skirting was jagged and bitten at parts, and was dangerous to all who did not know the path and had no wish to leave the path by way of the quarry. Oscar had tried stringing a wire fence across the lip, but some voters had kicked the fence down because they did not like the idea of Oscar covering the mountain with wire as well as owning it."

A crankshaft had gone, said Job, and from the solemn tone in which he said that, I understood that that this crankshaft was as important to this tipping contraption as rent to a landlord or breath to an ordinary voter, or God to some element at prayer."

PART II: THE DARK PHILOSOPHERS: If, instead of taking the left-hand road that led you up to the Terraces, you took the right-hand road, two things would happen.

Whenever there was an upheaval in some foreign land, there would be a procession of refugees from that land filing through Emmanuel's pulpit, with quivers full of piety, singing ballads of a sad and lowering sort like 'Russia, Holy Russia, I will die to set you free', and telling a sackful of stories about their narrow escape from the grip of the half-dozen or so godless persecutors who were at the bottom of all this trouble."

Our new meeting place in the evenings was the refreshment and confectionery shop of Idomeneo Faracci, an Italian, whose shop was on the third terrace, not far from the library and institute, where we had taken out fresh membership cards for the sake of attending lectures and borrowing books."

PART III: SIMEON: We all looked upon Simeon with respect. The house of Simeon stood nearer the mountain top than any other in the valley.

Lead Kindly Light

almost gallows-esque.

Rechabite: a Friendly Society founded in England in 1835 as part of the wider British temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. The order began was founded on 25 August 1835 as the Salford Unity of Rechabites, at the town of Salford, near Manchester, England. Their first lodge was ""Tent Ebenezer #1".

And whilst we're about making this a bit of a 'do', here's some rousing singing.

CR The Dark Philosophers
5* The Alone to the Alone