Cwmardy & We Live
Lewis Jones produced two novels that remain classics of international industrial fiction and testify to the oppressed but resistant and creative character of industrial South Wales.
- Stephen Knight
The epic industrial novels of the 1930s, Cwmardy and We Live are published together for the first time.
In Cwmardy, Big Jim, collier and ex-Boer War soldier, and his partner Siân endure the impact of strikes, riots and war, while their son Len emerges as a sharp thinker and dynamic political organiser. Len’s tale is taken up in We Live, in which he is influenced by Mary, a teacher, and the Communist Party, which becomes central to his work both underground and in union politics, and to his decision to leave and fight in the Spanish Civil War.
Cwmardy and We Live paints a graphic portrait of the casual exploitation, tragedy and violence as well as the political hope and humanity of South Wales industrial workers from the 1900s to the 1930s.
About the author:
Born in Clydach Vale in 1897, Lewis Jones began work underground at the age of twelve. He worked for the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement, was elected a County Councillor in 1936, and died in 1939 after a day of speaking at numerous public meetings in support of the Spanish Civil War.
Big Jim, known to civil servants and army authorities as James Roberts, stopped abruptly and let his eyes roam over the splendour of the mountain landscape. A coat hung uncouthly from his arm and a soft breeze played on the hairy chest that showed beneath his open red-flannel shirt.
His small son, Len, stood near by wondering what had caused this sudden halt. He saw Big Jim open his mouth as if about to say something, but instead of words came a smacking sound and a large mass of tobacco-stained saliva.