Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Thomas, Dylan "Under Milk Wood"

Thomas, Dylan "Under Milk Wood" - 1954

I read this for the "1954 Club".

This book challenge takes place twice a year and concentrates on one year and one year only. I call it "Read theYear Club". This time, 1954 was picked. For more information, see Simon @ Stuck in a Book.

I had already read "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding and "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson but there are always books in every year that I still want to read.

There were a few books that would have interested me and I might pick up a few of them in future:
Amis, Kingsley "Lucky Jim"
Rose, Reginal "Twelve Angry Men"
Murdoch, Iris "Under the Net"
Mishima, Yukio "The Sound of Waves"
Remarque, Erich Maria "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" (GE: Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben)
Wodehouse, P.B. "Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit"
Frisch, Max "I'm not Stiller" (GE: Stiller)

But I chose this one, "Under Milk Wood". Somehow, I always thought it was an adaptation from a novel and I thought the title sounded interesting. However, it is a play and it doesn't really have a plot. I mean, yes, the subject is "thoughts of people in a fictional village" but I couldn't follow them or make any sense of it let alone combine different thoughts from different people. Nor did I find any humour in this. Sometimes, a book is described as funny but I don't think it is but I can still like it (e.g. "Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" by Marina Lewycka), sometimes I am just bored ("Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons). This one belongs to the latter category. I mean, I love British humour, this has nothing to do with it. Thank goodness it wasn't that long.

From the back cover:

"Commissioned by the BBC, and described by Dylan Thomas as 'a play for voices', 'Under Milk Wood' takes the form of an emotive and hilarious account of a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub. We learn of the inhabitants' dreams and desires, their loves and regrets. The play introduces us to characters such as Captain Cat who dreams of his drowned former seafellows and Nogood Boyo who dreams of nothing at all. It is a unique and touching depiction of a village that has 'fallen head over bells in love'. The First Voice narration reveals the ordinary world of daily happenings and events, while the Second Voice conveys the intimate, innermost thoughts of the fascinating folk of Llareggub. There have been myriad productions of 'Under Milk Wood' over the years and Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Tom Jones have all starred in radio, stage or film adaptations."

And here is Simon's list with all the books from 1954 other bloggers read.


  1. I'm not a huge fan of poetry and haven't really read any plays so I haven't read any Thomas. I did see part of the movie adaptation of this book but I think we got bored with it and moved on. I think '12 Angry Men' would be worth a read. I loved the 1957 Henry Fonda movie adaptation to that one. I also keep meaning to dip into Amis. Maybe one day - although I don't have any of his works presently.

    1. Same here, Kitten. As I mentioned, I thought it was a novel because I never imagined one could make something like this into a play.

      Yes, the "12 Angry Men" film is magnificent. I have no idea why I chose "Under Milk Wood" in the end as I had so many other, better ideas.

  2. Sorry this didn't work for you.
    I usually stay away from books with "hilarious" in the synopsis and anything along those lines, as I usually don't them funny either, with a few rare exceptions.
    I just posted my review for the 1954 Club, from Argentina:

    1. Oh, definitely, Emma, the more funny a book is supposed to be, the worse it usually is. Having said that, I do like some funny novels but a lot of those that are announced as such are definitely not that.

      And thanks for the link to your post. I'll see it anyway but some other readers might be interested.

  3. When a book (or play) is boring, being short is definitely a blessing. Sorry this one wasn't better.

    1. Actually, Lark, that might be part of the reason why I didn't like it, in a longer book, the author can expand the story more. I love big books.

      And I put this one down to "experience". LOL

  4. Sorry this wasn't quite your thing Marianne. I struggled with it too until I listened to the audio of Richard Burton reading the play - highly recommend it if you get the chance. It brought the words to life.

    1. I'm not a big listener, Brona. To audiobooks, that is, I need some visual. And I doubt I will attempt this story again any time soon. But I'll keep your remarks in mind. Thanks.