Up, Into the Singing Mountain

Llewellyn, Richard. Up, into the Singing Mountain. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1960.

Reason read: to continue the series incorrectly started in December (in honor of December being the best time to visit Patagonia).

Up, into the Singing Mountain takes up where How Green Was My Valley left off. Huw Morgan leaves his tiny village in Wales for a Welsh community in the Patagonian region of Argentina. Singing starts with the same imagery as Valley in that Huw is bundling a little blue cloth. I’m not sure why that sticks out in my mind, but it does. Part of the reason why Huw leaves his community in the valley is his inappropriate love for his brother’s widow. As a child living in her house (to keep her company), no one thought of any impropriety. However, as Huw grows older and his feelings for Bron become more apparent, it was now time to leave.
Huw finds work as a cabinetmaker and builds a reputation on his artistry and skill. Unfortunately, the rumor mill also finds Huw in his new Patagonian community. This time he is tied unfavorably to a widow he has rented a room from, all the  while being in love with a girl several towns over. His inability to defend himself only creates more problems and new tensions. But that is nothing compared to the threats to the community at large posed by a weakened dam and torrential rains. Add rebellious Indios and you have an adventure.

Like the last book I am finding tons and tons to quote: “Strange that a word or a look at the proper moment will change the whole cage we live in, and the places of all those perched” (p 11-12), “It takes a long, long time to lose the poison of towns” (p 20), and “To have a breath of air from the mouths of much” (p 24). I’ll stop there.

As an aside, one of my favorite teas is yerba mate. It was cool to learn where it comes from.

Author fact: after reading the Wiki page on Richard Llewellyn I was shocked to learn some of the things he claimed all his life weren’t exactly true (like where he was born).

Book trivia: not a spoiler alert, but there are some pretty violent scenes in Up, Into the Mountain. I was actually quite shocked by the violence of Lal’s father.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply, “Patagonia” (p 174).

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