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Fight and Flight

Essays on Ron Berry

Ron Berry (1920–1977) was born in Blaencwm, a small village in the Rhondda Valleys of Wales. At age fourteen, he left school to follow his father’s career in the mines, and he remained a miner until World War II. Following his military service, he attended college, where he became an avid reader; soon after, he began writing, publishing his first novel, Hunters and Hunted, in 1960. Over the course of the next four decades, Berry would publish five more novels, a collection of stories, and a memoir, all of which shared a concern with the difficult lives of the working class people among whom he had grown up in the Rhondda Valleys.
While Berry was relatively neglected in his lifetime, his work is increasingly being seen as some of the most astute writing from Wales of the twentieth century. This collection, the first sustained critical study of his work, offers a literary, physical, and chronological view of Berry, from his personal life to the literary geographies and communities in which he was situated to his creative legacy.

224 pages | 1 halftone | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

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"Ron Berry wrote with the pent-up ferocity of a pit explosion; and he jealously guarded the aggressive contrariness that energized his edgy talent. These pioneering essays take us to the heart of his prickly genius for capturing, with uncompromising honesty, that which was precious about his time, locality and vanishing community."

M. Wynn Thomas, Swansea University

"At last we have critical analyses which do justice to the complex, profound, immersive and vital work of one of our best, and most achingly underrated, novelists. Each of the contributors to this fascinating volume engages with the technical skills and structural, innovative intricacies of Berry’s body of work without ever neglecting its warmth and empathy."

Niall Griffiths, Wolverhampton University

"Ron Berry’s writing vividly animated the heyday and decline of the south Wales coalfield, and the lives set against its backdrop, with distinctive style, wit and authenticity. This book provides comprehensive and insightful coverage of a neglected but vital Welsh author."

Rhian E. Jones, writer and historian

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgements Notes on Contributors List of abbreviations Ways Out: Ways In: Ways Back An Introduction Barbara Prys-Williams, History is what you live: Ron Berry’s rumination on his conflicted life and times Tony Brown, A Man’s World:

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