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Miriam, Daniel and Me

Euron Griffith
ISBN-13: 
9781781725733
Publication Date: 
Monday, July 27, 2020
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
£9.99

When he smiled it really did feel as if the chilly Caernarfonshire wind had stopped for a few seconds and as if the place had suddenly got warmer.

When Miriam fell in love with Padraig life seemed simple. But soon she discovered that love is a treacherous business. Everything changed when she met Daniel. She was taken down an unexpected path which would dictate and dominate the rest of her life.

Spanning three generations of a North Wales family in a Welsh-speaking community, Miriam, Daniel and Me is an absorbing and compelling story of family discord, political turmoil, poetry, jealousy…and football.

"...a confidently crafted novel about time, change and enduring love...and the seemingly random decisions that are made and borne by the generations who follow..." – Ed Thomas

 

Watch the full launch of Miriam, Daniel and Me on our Youtube channel now! Euron talks to Jon Gower about the inspiration behind the novel and it's characters, and Rakie Ayola reads excerpts from the book:

 

REVIEWS

Review by Euron Griffith, Live Journal

Monday, October 19, 2020

"The driver started the engine and the Ford Anglia pulled off. In the mirror, Miriam watched Pantglyn fall away like something suddenly cut loose. They were going to pick up the suitcases to go on their honeymoon. Daniel had booked a weekend in London.
On the Saturday he took her to Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea play Arsenal."

Griffith is not a new writer; he has published four novels in Welsh (one for children) and a short story collection in English, The Beatles in Tonypandy (Dean Street Press 2017). I still recall reading the title story of that collection, back in his student days, and wondering if I’d ever read a funnier or more inventive long short story. This, however, is his first novel in English, concerning three generations of a North Wales family.

Given his previous experience, it isn’t altogether surprising that his narrative techniques provide a lot of the interest, two of them in particular. The story is not linear; it switches back and forth between generations quite a lot and hence between points of view – the “me” of the title, Daniel and Miriam’s son, is a first-person narrator of what he himself sees, but other people’s experiences are told in close-third. The switches of time and viewpoint may at first seem arbitrary but are in fact carefully orchestrated; their effect is that we see events first and only later find out what lay behind them; we meet people but then get to know them better. For instance, we learn that Miriam’s friend Leah was proposed to in a rather odd and unexpected way; only much later do we find out why – rather as she may have done herself.
 

In addition, the chapters are very short. Few extend over more than three pages; many are shorter, one is half a page. They are vignettes, brief glimpses into people’s lives. The net effect of both this and the non-linear narration is to create the effect of autobiography, of a person finding out about his past via family anecdotes and disconnected memories and later filling the story out with information he finds elsewhere. I don’t know, incidentally, whether the story is in fact autobiographical, nor do I think it matters; the point is to create the effect of autobiography, which these techniques succeed well in doing. Only in chapter 51, where we are temporarily misdirected about the identity of someone who has died, did I feel the device was misdirection for its own sake.
 

The boy-narrator (unless I missed it, we never do learn his name) grows up in the sixties and the protests against the 1969 investiture of Charles as prince of Wales play a part in the narrative. The atmosphere and idiom of the period are well evoked; he has the details off pat, the right TV programmes, cars, wished-for toys, and this accuracy inclines me to believe he has the details of the earlier periods, which I can’t vouch for personally, right as well. It doesn’t sound like knowledge he had to “research”, either (which is of course how research in fiction ought to come across). The child-voice is convincing too.
 

One warning: if you are one of those readers, and I count myself among them, who would rather avoid any fictional depiction of cruelty to animals, you will want to skip chapters 29 and 49. This is easily done. They are self-contained, concern a minor character and avoiding them will not materially affect your reading of the novel. I don’t say they are completely irrelevant; they are probably there to establish gritty rural realism or whatever, but I wouldn’t say they were essential either.
 

Running alongside Miriam’s actual story is one that never happened, a direction her life might have taken but didn’t. This fades as her real life takes over but resurfaces at the end, in a conclusion which is the more moving for not being wistful or sentimental: things are as they are and it is pointless to idealise what might have been at the expense of what was.
 

By the way, if you can still get hold of his short story collection. The Beatles in Tonypandy, pub. Dean Street Press 2016, and there’s a kindle edition as well, do!  That title story is still one of the most entertaining I’ve ever read.

Review by Sheenagh Pugh

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Griffith is not a new writer; he has published four novels in Welsh (one for children) and a short story collection in English, The Beatles in Tonypandy (Dean Street Press 2017). I still recall reading the title story of that collection, back in his student days, and wondering if I’d ever read a funnier or more inventive long short story. This, however, is his first novel in English, concerning three generations of a North Wales family.

Given his previous experience, it isn’t altogether surprising that his narrative techniques provide a lot of the interest, two of them in particular. The story is not linear; it switches back and forth between generations quite a lot and hence between points of view – the “me” of the title, Daniel and Miriam’s son, is a first-person narrator of what he himself sees, but other people’s experiences are told in close-third. The switches of time and viewpoint may at first seem arbitrary but are in fact carefully orchestrated; their effect is that we see events first and only later find out what lay behind them; we meet people but then get to know them better. For instance, we learn that Miriam’s friend Leah was proposed to in a rather odd and unexpected way; only much later do we find out why – rather as she may have done herself.

In addition, the chapters are very short. Few extend over more than three pages; many are shorter, one is half a page. They are vignettes, brief glimpses into people’s lives. The net effect of both this and the non-linear narration is to create the effect of autobiography, of a person finding out about his past via family anecdotes and disconnected memories and later filling the story out with information he finds elsewhere. I don’t know, incidentally, whether the story is in fact autobiographical, nor do I think it matters; the point is to create the effect of autobiography, which these techniques succeed well in doing. Only in chapter 51, where we are temporarily misdirected about the identity of someone who has died, did I feel the device was misdirection for its own sake.

The boy-narrator (unless I missed it, we never do learn his name) grows up in the sixties and the protests against the 1969 investiture of Charles as prince of Wales play a part in the narrative. The atmosphere and idiom of the period are well evoked; he has the details off pat, the right TV programmes, cars, wished-for toys, and this accuracy inclines me to believe he has the details of the earlier periods, which I can’t vouch for personally, right as well. It doesn’t sound like knowledge he had to “research”, either (which is of course how research in fiction ought to come across). The child-voice is convincing too.

One warning: if you are one of those readers, and I count myself among them, who would rather avoid any fictional depiction of cruelty to animals, you will want to skip chapters 29 and 49. This is easily done. They are self-contained, concern a minor character and avoiding them will not materially affect your reading of the novel. I don’t say they are completely irrelevant; they are probably there to establish gritty rural realism or whatever, but I wouldn’t say they were essential either.

Running alongside Miriam’s actual story is one that never happened, a direction her life might have taken but didn’t. This fades as her real life takes over but resurfaces at the end, in a conclusion which is the more moving for not being wistful or sentimental: things are as they are and it is pointless to idealise what might have been at the expense of what was.

Reviews from the ‘Miriam, Daniel and Me’ Blog Tour

Sunday, August 30, 2020

“I loved how these flashbacks pieced together the backstories of the characters...the historical facts lent authenticity to the story giving a real feel of life in North Wales at that time...I found it engrossing.” – @c.isfor.claire_reads

“I flew through this book and I really enjoyed it. I hope that there is more to come from this author.” – @booksbybindu

“I love anything like this and this didn’t fail to keep me interested...I liked the references to local welsh landmarks and the descriptions of the welsh landscapes were just perfect.” – @booklovingscienceteacher

“Euron Griffths portrays our small but beautiful land so delicately that I almost don't recognise it. But I also know it is on the mark, and true of the era it is set in. This is an interesting read and I enjoyed seeing all the popular welsh names that I am so familiar with.” – @Rhirhireader

“There is no direct storyline which, in my opinion, helps the story flow more freely...I don’t regret picking up this book.” – @the.b00kreader

“Griffith successfully opens a window on North Wales in the sixties and the life, politics and people of that time” – @shh_reads_

“A…beautifully told tale of the passing of time and how a change of events can change the course of a life.” – @Ogden_Library

“This is an endearing and thoughtful novel about how everything can change around you, but love can remain…” ­– Ceri’s Little Blog

“Wales is portrayed beautifully…A lovely, quick read - highly enjoyable!” – @youcantbeatagoodbook

“Miriam, Daniel and Me also showcases the ambitions, heartbreaks, and turmoil of the Meredith Family…the author highlights how unpredictable life is, but no matter which way it takes you, there’s always hope for a better future. I loved the main characters, and my heart went out to Miriam. The story ends in a bittersweet manner that had me in tears.” – Rajiv’s Reviews

“It oozes with colourful imagery and prose that will keep you turning the pages. A rich, family saga that…I really enjoyed.” – Books ‘n’ Banter

“Miriam, Daniel and Me is a touching tale of family and how each generation differs slightly in their choices and way of living. The characters were very engaging and…it felt like we were a part of their family…” – Honest Mam Reader

“Set in Wales in the 1960s…this was a quick and easy read…I’m really into books set in the U.K. but…more stories need to come from the rest of the British Isles. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a quick read!” – @sunstormsandthunderclouds

User Reviews

Helen  Hughes's picture

Helen Hughes

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

This is a vast book, ‘of love and death and loss, of fear and shame and regret.’ Set in the microcosm of North Welsh village life mid last century, the deft writing draws you into a world that feels generations away and yet timeless. I read this book in three sittings - a sure sign of how compelling the characters are and how I wanted to know what impact their decisions have on the landscape of their lives. A beautiful book of love, poetry and welsh politics.

17/08/2020 - 12:39

Comments

Helen  Hughes's picture

Helen Hughes

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

This is a vast book, ‘of love and death and loss, of fear and shame and regret.’ Set in the microcosm of North Welsh village life mid last century, the deft writing draws you into a world that feels generations away and yet timeless. I read this book in three sittings - a sure sign of how compelling the characters are and how I wanted to know what impact their decisions have on the landscape of their lives. A beautiful book of love, poetry and welsh politics.

17/08/2020 - 12:39
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