Everything Must Change
"..simply the best novel I have ever read from our nation.." Mike Jenkins (Welsh Poet and author)
Everything Must Change is a thoughtful first novel, exploring the place of passionately held, radical beliefs in the modern world. The novel intercuts the story of French philosopher and activist Simone Weil, with that of 21st century campaigner Meinwen Jones, adrift in a post-devolution Wales. Hailed as ‘the first post-national novel’ by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Meinwen’s inner struggle echoes Simone’s as she devotes herself exclusively to her cause of anti-globalisation and protecting culture.
Meinwen sacrifices love, a career and a future to the ‘cause’ as she follows the activists’ trail through TV studios, political rallies and prison, taking Simone as inspiration in her lonely battle. But in the chambers of the Assembly, the chic restaurants of Cardiff or her hilltop in north Wales, she finds her old certainties being called into question as victory fades from view. A world away in an inter-war Europe threatened by fascism, Simone, an idealistic gifted young Jewish woman seeks a vocation to satisfy her passion for justice as well as her dangerous desire for self-sacrifice.
In factories, on farms and on the battlefields of Spain, she challenges “The Great Beast” of totalitarianism and fascism. But her ideals seem ever more at odds with reality. When friends become enemies and enemies offer friendship, both women have to question their long-held beliefs, and find themselves facing a stark choice between life and death.
A novel of ideas, Everything Must Change examines ideals of asceticism and devotion to a cause in a materialistic modern society.
Everything Must Change was first published in Welsh as Rhaid i Bopeth Newid (2004, Gomer) and was longlisted for the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. It has been translated and extended by its author, the poet, critic and journalist, Grahame Davies.
Priase for Everything Must Change:
“Philosophically weighty …it reminds me of Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1940s trilogy, Les Chemins de la Liberté (Paths of Liberty). Here… is set out the Welsh post-nationalistic choice. This is the first post-national novel.” - Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas
“… a compelling glimpse of a compelling personality [Simone Weil]. The book is pertinent, provocative and entertaining – rich nourishment for anybody interested in the way culture and identity inform the lives we make.” - Owen Martell