Neb Ond Ni, nofel fuddugol cystadleuaeth y Fedal Ryddiaith 2011, yw dewis Robin McBryde. Robin McBryde, forwards' coach for the Welsh national rugby team, talks about the novel ...
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-I'm Robin McBryde.
-I played rugby for Wales
-between 1994 and 2005.
-I'm currently Wales's forwards
-I also belong
-to the Gorsedd of the Bards.
-I don't swear or curse,
-unless they lose, of course!
-It's given us a bit more confidence,
-knowing if we perform well...
-This is Llanfechell village square.
-I was raised here
-until I was eight or nine years old.
-The post office and shop
-across the way...
-..were the hub of the village.
-They still are to this day.
-Y Cefn Glas pub is behind me.
-My friends and I gathered here.
-We were free
-to roam around the village.
-This is the river where I'd spend
-hours playing in the water...
-..and on the riverbank
-under the bridge...
-..with my two
-closest friends in the village.
-Alun Lloyd and Stephen Humphries,
-or Stephen Bach, lived nearby.
-The three of us would climb trees
-and jump across the river.
-We had the freedom
-to wander through the fields.
-We had lots of fun
-and I have many fond memories.
-We used to walk
-and ride our bikes...
-..from Llanfechell to Cemaes...
-..and spend the day
-playing on the beach.
-We'd jump off the pier into the sea.
-On a day like today,
-there's no better place to be.
-It's a world away...
-..from the upbringing Dewi and
-Siriol had in the novel, Neb Ond Ni.
-I bought the book because it won
-the Prose Medal at the Eisteddfod.
-I read the synopsis of the book...
-..and read a few pages.
-The dialogue contained Southwalian
-and Northwalian dialects.
-It was nice and simple to read.
-It gave me a feel for the book.
-It captivated me.
-The story revolves around...
-..the two central characters -
-Dewi and Siriol.
-They are two remarkable children
-with special needs.
-They're very close and understand
-one another better than anyone.
-The novel begins
-and Dewi is missing.
-Only Siriol knows where he is.
-"Voices calling, lights bobbing like
-shooting stars, Mam staring at me.
-"I wanted to say he was safe
-under the Felin Ganol footbridge.
-"He'd gone to measure it with
-the tape he was given as a present.
-"He would return at midnight.
-"But how could I?
-"And what did I say?
-I said I knew nothing, as usual.
-"I tried not to look at my watch.
-"I wanted it to be midnight.
-"He arrived back,
-grinning as usual.
-"He sauntered back with a
-what's-the-problem look on his face.
-"'You'll be sent away forever if you
-don't behave yourself, sonny Jim.'
-"I started crying
-and Mam put her arm around me.
-"'Don't worry, dear Siriol,
-it's an empty threat.'
-"But on the way back, she
-whispered something in Dad's ear.
-"If Dai sent the little boy away...
-"..she'd break her heart.
-"That's what she said.
-And she's completely right.
-"If Dewi was sent away forever...
-"No, I refuse to think about it.
-It hurts too much."
-The novel is set in the 1970s...
-..and Dewi and Siriol are
-the same age as I was at the time.
-It was easy for me to empathize
-with them as characters...
-..and easy for me to conjure up
-images in my mind, like Dewi.
-I'm very fond of the style...
-..because we see
-..through the eyes
-of the five central characters...
-..and are privy
-to their inner thoughts...
-..instead of open conversations.
-As a man
-who likes to mull things over...
-..the book appealed to me...
-..and made me think...
-..during the time I was reading it
-and also after finishing it.
-What comes across...
-..is how cruel people can be...
-Cruel things they say and do in
-the company of these small children.
-Children with special needs...
-..are sensible enough
-to know what's hurtful.
-That's something else...
-..that makes you think about
-how you behave and act...
-with special needs.
-The novel is set
-in a village similar to Llandwrog.
-I'm on my way there
-to meet the author, Manon Rhys.
-I call on Sitting Bull to stand.
-The sun is shining today and there's
-a picture of the sun on the cover.
-there's a reason for that?
-Hand on heart,
-this was my inspiration.
-It's the same sun that appears on
-Dafydd Iwan Ac Edward's album cover.
-It's a collection
-of children's songs.
-Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn
-typifies the ideal village.
-The name is so pretty...
-..and it paints
-a picture of beauty...
-Dewch Am Dro
-Ar Hyd Y Llwybr Troed...
-.."invites children to walk along
-the footpath near the house...
-"..where we shall see many wonders."
-It's an invitation for children
-to go and see these wonders.
-It made me think about children
-who maybe can't see.
-Another line of the song is,
-"We'll have races in the meadow".
-But what about children
-who can't run?
-I came up with
-a character called Siriol...
-and partially blind.
-Her best friend is Dewi...
-..a little boy who can walk, run
-and do everything children can do.
-But he suffers from what people
-would nowadays call autism.
-But back in the 1970s...
-..Dewi wouldn't have
-been given any support...
-..to help him deal with
-the problems going on in his mind.
-That's the basis of the story.
-Dewi and Siriol
-live in the village of Llan...
-..which is similar to Llandwrog...
-..where we're sitting at the moment.
-The theme for the Prose Medal
-competition was Conflict.
-I've tried to convey that
-the parents are trying their best...
-..to rebel against an inadequate
-system for their children.
-But in the end, Siriol's mother
-and Dai, Dewi's stepfather...
-..have to conform with that system.
-Yes, that was apparent
-in Siriol's mother.
-She wanted to find out
-as much information as she could...
-..while the father
-accepted the situation.
-He just wanted to deal with it.
-There's one scene in the kitchen...
-..where Siriol's grandmother...
-..obviously knows that something's
-wrong but doesn't like to ask.
-For some reason, Siriol's mother
-hasn't said anything to her.
-Then comes the line,
-"like a ticking bomb".
-I like that. It's ticking,
-waiting for the bomb to explode.
-And the bomb does explode.
-As it says on the cover...
-.."an author that trusts
-the reader's imagination."
-You have to come to
-your own conclusions, in a way.
-That appealed to me too.
-It raises a lot of questions, so
-I'm glad you're here to answer them!
-Thank you for the opportunity
-to answer them...
-..but perhaps there are
-no answers to some of them.
-I'm comfortable with that too.
-It leaves it wide open
-to the imagination.
-There are lots of sad
-and emotional passages in the novel.
-One of those is when the children
-are old enough to realize...
-..that they're not the same
-as other children...
-..and that they have a disability.
-"I can cope with them
-calling me names...
-"..like Siriol Saucer Eyes
-and Jam-Jar Glasses.
-"And I can cope with worse...
-"..like Billy Bunter's sister
-in a wheelchair.
-"But seeing Mam and Dad suffer
-is very difficult.
-"But that's what cruel people do.
-"They upset them and make them cry.
-"I see them holding hands
-on the patio and crying.
-"Seeing your parents cry
-"There's something else too.
-"I know I'm the problem.
-"I'm to blame.
-"But I don't want to be a problem or
-for people to think I'm a problem.
-"Mam and said have never said
-or thought I was.
-"Dad says, 'No problem' to
-everything. Others are the problem.
-"That's what I'm trying to believe,
-but I'm failing miserably.
-"Because I am the problem,
-and that's the end of it.
-"I'm a big, ugly, clumsy problem...
-"..that can't walk
-and has to wear thick glasses.
-"I'll always be a problem
-for as long as I live.
-"And that scares me."
-Hazel Walford Davies
-adjudicated the Prose Medal...
-..when Neb Ond Ni
-won first prize in 2011.
-This was a novel...
-..that didn't focus
-on the state of rural Wales...
-..the Welsh-language crisis,
-..or the good old days
-when Wales enjoyed a golden era...
-..and so on and so forth.
-It was something
-completely different and fresh.
-It was also striking...
-..because it expressed great truths
-without moralizing or preaching.
-All those elements,
-coupled with the novel's style...
-..which is innovative in terms
-of Welsh-language literature...
-..was exceptionally fresh.
-In essence, what you have
-is a series of soliloquies...
-..and a vivid imagination...
-..woven very adeptly into the novel.
-It's quite a complicated novel.
-..because Manon Rhys
-trusts the reader's imagination.
-Few Welsh-language novels do that.
-everything's in black and white.
-What I like about it is that it's
-a delicate and suggestive novel.
-"I don't like mess.
-It makes me sick.
-and that's why I get angry.
-"That's why I fly into a rage.
-"A vandal, like Dafydd Iwan.
-"Dai says I'm like
-a Welsh-language extremist...
-and painting slogans.
-"'You'll wind up in jail.'
-"I wanted Dafydd Iwan's autograph.
-I went up to him.
-"I said, 'I'm Dewi.'
-"'How are you, Dewi,
-and where do you live?'
-"'Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn, halfway
-between Lleyn and Bro Afallon.'
-"I didn't say that - I couldn't.
-Just in my head.
-"I said, 'Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn.'
-He looked surprised.
-"'Well, well, the very Dewi off
-the record.' That's what he said.
-"'The two records,' you mean.
-'You're right,' he said.
-"'Do you want to see them?', I said.
-"I showed him my list. 'These are
-my favourite songs,' I said.
-"Mi Welais Long Yn Hwylio.
-Tyrd Am Dro I'r Coed.
-"Tyrd Am Dro Ar Hyd Y Llwybr Troed.
-Ty A Gardd.
-"'That's Siriol's favourite.'
-"'My best friend.'
-'You have a good memory,' he said.
-"'I know,' I said. 'You're lucky,
-my memory is failing.'
-"'Why, are you ill?' I said. 'Old
-age comes not on its own.' he said.
-"'I have 10 of your records,' I
-said, and I started listing them.
-"He looked at his watch.
-'Sorry, Dewi, I have to go.'
-"'To where?' I said. 'To a boring
-committee meeting. See you.'
-"And off he went across the Maes."
-I'm meeting members
-of the Ogwen Valley book club...
-..to hear their thoughts
-on the novel.
-The club was set up
-five years ago...
-..in conjunction with
-Gwynedd's library service...
-..to bring people
-with similar interests....
-an interest in books, together.
-We like having discussions...
-..and the occasional argument.
-Did you enjoy the novel?
-I enjoyed it more the second time
-I read it, to be honest.
-There's so much to digest...
-..it's a lot to take in
-on the first read.
-It raises a lot of questions and you
-have to draw your own conclusions.
-It suits a deep thinker...
-..more than someone who wants
-all the answers explained.
-Would you agree?
-Yes, I would. Don't get me wrong,
-I enjoyed the book.
-But I like things
-explained in black and white.
-I don't like enigmatic novels.
-It was left wide open.
-There were no solutions in the book.
-I wasn't 100% satisfied.
-I didn't like the ending either.
-I would have liked to know
-It needed more narrative
-instead of soliloquies.
-Having said that, the
-characterisations were outstanding.
-When I first read it,
-I was searching for clues.
-If you read it again,
-you find those clues.
-It's not an easy book to read,
-but it's worth reading.
-You find out more...
-..from the long monologues.
-Does one scene stand out for you?
-Not so much a scene...
-..but the part
-where she says she has to pretend.
-She says, "Pretending is important.
-not to see and hear things.
-"Pretending not to understand
-or know nothing...
-and seeing everything.
-"Knowing and understanding
-everything but saying nothing."
-That was really poignant.
-Pretending is key in this novel.
-There's an extensive use
-of dialect in the novel too.
-I thought the language
-suited the characters.
-It was spot-on.
-There were a few places
-where it didn't quite work.
-Manon's mature use
-of the language...
-..came through perhaps
-a little more than you'd expect...
-..but Siriol's voice
-is very endearing.
-She has a close relationship
-with the reader.
-That certainly comes through...
-..in others' voices too.
-What's happened to Dewi in the end?
-He's gone this time,
-as the final sentence suggests.
-They're talking about the ford...
-..so this time,
-I think he must've drowned.
-He'll come back
-and apologize to Siriol...
-..just as he's done
-throughout the book.
-And you're non-committal!
-And you're non-committal!
-I take it since Robin has been
-talking to Manon, he can perhaps...
-No, there was no definite answer,
-I don't know
-if he comes back or not.
-I'm leaving the door open
-..to write another novel
-about their futures.
-And then we can all go home happy.
-And then we can all go home happy.
-Yes, much happier.
-Dewi has a special skill.
-He's a gifted artist.
-He makes up scenarios in his head.
-One of them is that he's won
-a Blue Peter competition.
-He and his stepfather, Dai,
-go on a cruise...
-..travelling from place to place.
-That's when he realizes
-that he's 'wrong'.
-He realizes he'll be wrong forever.
-"Bangor. First Class train. London.
-"Editor of Eagle. Nice work, Boyo!
-"Plymouth - walking on the Hoe,
-pretending to play bowls...
-"..looking out across the sea -
-warships ahoy, gw'-boi.
-"SS Seabird - luxury suite,
-blue and white and a feather bed.
-"A red wine for Dai, a Coke for me.
-"A pool on deck,
-gym, tennis and golf.
-"Cafes, bars, casinos.
-"Captain's Table, 'Congratulations,
-sonny, you're a star.'
-"The White Cliffs of Dover,
-pink in the dawn's light. Stop!
-"Stop! Not possible.
-"Four, five, five miles.
-"The Children's Atlas chart
-between them both.
-"Don't like being wrong.
-Don't like things being wrong.
-"Want things to be right.
-"Don't want to be stupid.
-Want to not be stupid.
-"Crying on my rebel bed.
-"Staring at the ceiling,
-hiding under the Hulk duvet.
-"Crying because I'm wrong,
-because I'm stupid."
-"Because I'm going to be
-wrong and stupid forever."
-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.
Neb Ond Ni, nofel fuddugol cystadleuaeth y Fedal Ryddiaith 2011, yw dewis Robin McBryde. Robin McBryde, forwards' coach for the Welsh national rugby team, talks about the novel Neb Ond Ni.