Awdur: Manon Rhys
Dyddiad Cyhoeddi: 01 Ebrill 2005
Cyhoeddwr: Gomer, Llandysul
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 184x124 mm, 384 tudalen
Nofel wedi ei lleoli yn un o bentrefi Cwm Rhondda yn yr 1950au yn portreadu hapusrwydd a thristwch merch ddeg oed sy'n cofnodi ei gweithgareddau a'i hemosiynau, a'i pherthynas gymhleth gyda chyfoedion ac oedolion, yn arbennig ei pherthynas gyda'i mam alcoholig ac emosiynol ansefydlog.
Branwen Dyddgu Roberts - the 'rare bird' of the novel's title - is different from her friends. Her house is set apart from their steep terraces. She has no father. Her mother is an alcoholic. And she speaks a different language: most of her neighbours cannot even pronounce her name. Manon Rhys's semi-autobiographical novel follows the fortunes of this sensitive young girl as she grows up in a south Wales mining village in the 1950s and comes to terms with a world in which she never quite feels at home. If Rara Avis is about childhood, it is also about language. For Branwen, Welsh is the litmus paper of both identity and alienation, belonging and loss. It offers a kind of community: but here, in the anglicised Rhondda this is largely a community of other migrants, the old and the dead. (The local cemetery provides Branwen with her most congenial retreat). And if it is the medium of education for a new generation of children, a possible focus of new community, it also stirs fierce animosity and prejudice. Language is never merely a vehicle of communication. Manon Rhys does justice to all layers of this cultural mix, using voices from past and present, both Welsh and English, to construct a microcosm of modern Wales. And it does so through the slow accumulations of a child's daily encounters with an uncomfortable world which she has no choice but to make her own. It is a tour de force of close observation, vivid dialogue, subtle characterisation and multiple perspectives: a Küstlerroman which tells the story of an emerging writer but also of the medium through which she writes and the environment that has made her.
Cyfnewidfa Lên Cymru/Wales Literature Exchange