Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Taste of Apples

The first ever explicit, meat and potatoes, depiction of the sexual act in the Welsh-language novel can be found in Ienctid Yw 'Mhechod (Youth is my Sin) which was written by John Rowlands. Published in 1965 it was runner-up in the literature competition at the National Eisteddfod held in Swansea in 1964. One adjudicator said: "Many Welsh publishers would have scruples about it." In 1966 the book was given an English translation and re-published under a new title - A Taste of Apples. Rowlands' novel is the story of a married minister (Emrys) who has a sexual affair with a young woman (Elsa). The complication in their relationship is that Elsa shares a house with her gravely ill mother. While she and the minister are downstairs getting it on, her poor mam is upstairs dying. Cue much guilt when the old woman eventually carks it while they are on the job. In a nutshell: sex, religion and death. The original Welsh-language cover of the book has an abstract, yellow, globular design; the English-language version has a saucier, soft-focus, blue-filtered headshot (see pic). Make of that what you will.