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What this book lacks in literary polish, it more than makes up in honesty. Of course, I cannot know for certain that this is a true picture of Caitlin and Dylan Thomas' life together, but Caitlin comes across as very honest: the tale does not always represent her in a good light and has the ring of truth to it. This is a very sad story of two people, neither very mature, either in years, or outlook, who obviously loved each other deeply but did not have the wisdom to work upon their relationship. There were violent outbursts - usually Caitlin handing out a beating to the miniature, feeble Dylan who, whilst not violent, could be completely thoughtless. Were Dylan Thomas not to have been an undoubted poetical genius, then one's description of him would have been most unflattering: indeed, even Caitlin seems to have excused behaviour that would have been unacceptable from a mere human being, because of Dylan's talent. This raises some interesting questions, as does Dylan's demise in America. Both parties were inveterate drunks and Dylan was reported to have said that he had drunk a record (for him) eighteen straight whiskies. This may well have been an exaggeration; Dylan seems to have been one of those chaps who felt that a man is defined by how much alcohol he is able to consume (I hope not: I would certainly need to become a cross dresser, at the very least!). There were other strange events surrounding the death - the doctor called to assist Thomas seems to have administered an odd cocktail of drugs and his treatment to have been, unusual. At this remove, we will probably never know the truth and Caitlin appears to have reached this conclusion too because, whilst she mentions these facts, she does not churn out a conspiracy theory. This is a loving reminiscence of a relationship into which few people would ever have entered but, which was perhaps inevitable for these two.
Artists in Dylan Thomas's Prose Works: Adam Naming and Aesop Fabling
Limited preview - 1995