White Trail by Fflur Dafydd - review by Gwyn Griffiths
Morning Star Online
Wednesday 11 January 2012
Sophisticated and complex mediaeval Welsh tales like
the Mabinogion, and others such as Culhwch and Olwen
which now appear to have been accepted as a part of
that cycle, are a challenge to the imagination.
elements of enchantment and shape-shifting pose problems
for the modern reader and even more so to the writers
who have accepted Seren's commission to adapt these
tales to a contemporary setting.
Dafydd's reworking of Culhwch and Olwen into The White
Trail is a particularly inventive work.
retaining the essence of the tale she develops some
events and themes and skims over others. Goleuddydd,
pregnant with Culhwch, vanishes mysteriously in a supermarket
on a dark evening.
is found dead in a pig run and the baby taken from her
by a caesarean operation is not there.
distraught husband Cilydd joins a group searching for
missing relatives and enlists the help of his cousin
Arthur, demoted from king to an inept, if persistent,
is another missing person, downgraded from king in the
original tale to health minister in the Welsh Assembly
disappears, having left a privatised health service
in a mess.
Ysbaddaden Bencawr is a mysterious oligarch evidently
mixed up in something dodgy.
has produced a good, convincing read and The House Of
The Missing struck me as a particularly clever idea
in which Dafydd effortlessy retains some of the enchantment
of the original tale without being in the least obtrusive.