Review: Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

under-milk-wood-cover 2

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date Read: December 8 to 11, 2014
Read Count: 1
Recommended by:
Recommended for: people who like wordplay

Not a play or a poem, exactly. This was written to be performed as a BBC radio drama, and it’s about life in a sleepy town in Wales. We follow a few characters as they go from dream to wakefulness and then move through the rest of their day. We get to hear their thoughts and reflections as they do every day things. Sounds very dull, I know, which is why you have to read (or listen to) it for yourself.

In the tradition of small towns, everyone has a big secret. Each character is haunted by old ghosts and rivals, and all are hiding their true intentions, and at least one has murder on the mind. Not so dull once you go further into the story. The writing is incredibly interesting in its simplicity and depth. Dylan Thomas has a thing for lyrical wordplay, and his prose can speak volumes in just a couple of lines.

What’s most fascinating to me about this piece is the way it reads like a slightly discomforting tour guide of this seemingly quaint little town. You get to take a walk about the town and see the sights, but beyond that, you also get to see into the people who live there. And these people sort of hate each other, but they’re sort of stuck to the town. So a lot of forced niceties are exchanged on the surface, but behind the smiles and small talks, they’re imagining each other dead.

I live in the Midwest, so none of this is news to me. Forced niceties are just part of every day life here. Yet to see so much passive-aggressiveness play out this way is really interesting. It makes me take note of how many times a day I have to put up with certain people while pretending that all is well between us. At least 5 times a day, if it’s a really good day. I stop counting when the count goes past 10.


2 thoughts on “Review: Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

  1. ahouseofbooks December 13, 2014 / 2:41 pm

    This is not a book I would have considered reading, but your review makes it sound really interesting. I don’t mind books that aren’t action-packed so maybe I should check it out.


    • 1stavenue December 13, 2014 / 2:53 pm

      It’s not the kind of book I read either, but I remember liking Dylan Thomas from my time in school. The writing is similar here, so if you like his poetry, chances are you’ll like this book.

      Liked by 1 person

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