In a small Welsh village during the dark days of World War I, a nameless narrator chronicles a year of loss, grief, and madness in Caradog Prichard's One Moonlit Night. Originally published in 1961, this Welsh-language novel has been eloquently translated into English by Philip Mitchell, perhaps garnering Prichard the wide recognition his novels have long enjoyed in his native land. Less a novel than a loosely connected series of tales, Prichard peoples his fictional world with characters such as Grace Ellen Shoe Shop, Will Starch Collar, and Johnny Beer Barrel. Though One Moonlit Night has its lighter moments, its story is primarily a sad one: the narrator's mother is sent to an insane asylum; one close friend dies of tuberculosis while another moves away; village men die in the faraway killing fields of the war as the loved ones they leave behind live in unrelenting poverty. Eventually, something terrible happens.
In One Moonlit Night, perfection is in the details--the loving evocations of the townspeople and the physical and emotional landscapes they inhabit. Dark as it is at times, Prichard's tragic tale is leavened by humor and illuminated by prose that is lyrical and deeply stirring. [via]