A review of Rhys Hughes' Cloud Farming in Wales

Written by Seregil of Rhiminee (March 3, 2018) [Articles / Reviews]

Rhys Hughes' Cloud Farming in Wales was published by Snuggly Books in July 2017.

Information about Rhys Hughes:

Rhys Hughes was born in Wales but has lived in many different countries. He graduated as an engineer and currently works as a tutor of mathematics. He began writing fiction at an early age and his first book, Worming the Harpy, was published in 1995. Since that time he has published more than thirty other books. His short stories have been translated into ten languages. He is nearing the end of an ambitious project to complete a cycle of exactly 1000 linked tales. His most recent book is the collection The Seashell Contract and he is hard at work on an experimental novel called Comfy Rascals. Fantasy, humour, satire, science fiction, adventure, irony, paradoxes and philosophy are combined in his work to create a distinctive style.

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about Cloud Farming in Wales:

In Wales it never stops raining. Or almost never. When it does stop raining from the sky, it rains from hearts instead. Indoors as well as outdoors, the people huddle in the endless drenchings, and over time they have evolved into aquatic creatures who only look and behave like men and women but aren’t really. There is a clue in the name of the country. Wales is a nation with no spot of dry land within its borders. Wales is an Atlantis that never stayed under but is just as wet. Crammed with mythical beings and happenings, Cloud Farming in Wales palpitates, germinates and extrapolates, but never evaporates, and the sodden heroes that wade and slosh through the mighty puddles of its pages are generally in search of a canoe.


Rhys Hughes' Cloud Farming in Wales is a rewarding reading experience, because it's literary speculative fiction at its most enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderfully quirky story, because the events take place in Wales and the author writes about all things Wales/Welsh in his own unique way.

Cloud Farming in Wales is a perfect example of Rhys Hughes' extraordinary literary voice. In this novel, he blends the mundane with the fantastical and the unexpected in an eloquent and humorous way. He has written a highly enjoyable novel that is simultaneously brilliantly humorous and inventive, but also insightful and strangely meaningful.

This novel offers readers a compelling and unique glimpse into Wales (and partly also to Welsh heritage and Welsh way of life). If you thought you knew everything there is to know about Wales and Welsh weather, you'll soon find out how wrong you were when you begin to read this novel, because it has lots of revelations, surprises and puns in store for you.

Here's a bit of information about the contents of this novel:

Cloud Farming in Wales consists of short, episodic chapters that reveal many things about the weather in Wales and many other things. The story begins with a bearded man with a crook preparing himself to dip his clouds. The clouds seem to be the dominant life-form in the land and have a good home in Wales... From this moment on, the contents of this novel become increasingly intriguing and fascinatingly strange. I won't go into details about the happenings in fear of writing spoilers, but it's safe to say that you'll be amused, fascinated and surprised by what you are about to read.

The narrator of the story tells humorously and sharply about what the weather is like in Wales and what it is like to live there. The narration works splendidly as a backbone for the story, because the narrator ponders many things that are normally regarded as granted and nobody ever thinks about them. The narrator's ruminations are satisfyingly revealing, not to mention rewarding.

Wilson, who is a cloud farmer, is a fascinating character, because after serious thinking about how define himself to the public, he decided to settle on cloud farming, because it was a perfect choice for him. Because nobody in history had been a cloud farmer, it wouldn't be possible for him to embarrass himself when talking about his job. I enjoyed reading about him and his dilemmas.

The story has fascinating mythical elements, because the author writes about how Wales sank below sea level and how it emerged from under the waves (the surviving people could hold their breath and had big lungs, which explains why Wales is a nation of singers). I found it compelling that Wales seems to be an Atlantis that sank, but surfaced and stayed wet, and there are many mythic beings and creatures roaming in the forests, because all of this was totally unexpected.

This novel has many entertaining and enjoyable scenes that made me chuckle while I read it. What the narrator of the story writes about the Queen is highly entertaining. The narrator also tells amusingly about Donna Summer and her well-known cover version and disco arrangement of "MacArthur Park". I'm sure that fans of H.P. Lovecraft will be delighted to know that there's also a humorous reference to Cthulhu.

The building of a pipeline to deliver water elsewhere was an intriguing idea, because it offered people an escape route to drier areas. I enjoyed reading about how people decided to use the pipeline for travelling to dry places, because they could wear diving suits and scuba gear and ride the pipeline until they reach their destination. I think that the blockage caused by overweight people and its consequences will delight those who have read grotesque and macabre stories.

I was honestly amazed at the author's clever and imaginative way of writing about Wales, because the story has an incredibly fresh feel to it (I don't recollect anybody ever writing about Wales and Welsh weather like this before). The ideas that are presented and ruminated upon in this novel are fascinating and offer plenty of amusement to readers, and the underlying sharpness adds a fine touch of class to the whole novel.

Rhys Hughes' excellent and effortlessly flowing prose is one of the most important reasons why the story works so well. It's a pleasure to read his prose, because he breathes life into the story with his humour and clever insights. I believe that many readers will find themselves laughing out loud at certain points, because the author's witty humour is simply marvellous.

If you're in need of something different and compelling to read, I recommend taking a look at Rhys Hughes' Cloud Farming in Wales, because it's an excellent novel with a wonderfully quirky story that will sweetly tickle your brain cells. If you enjoy reading humorous and slightly strange stories, I'm sure that you'll be pleased to read this novel.

Highly recommended!