Born in the impoverished industrial valleys of south Wales, the story of Lewis has many varied aspects – he was a talented academic, a gifted writer, a depressive personality, politically aspirational in left wing terms, a pacifist by nature who was faced with a war against fascism.
In the course of the war he became caught between two women on opposite sides of the world, his wife Gweno and Freda Aykroyd, an ex patriot in India whose house provided respite for officers on leave there. Lewis’s relationships with Gweno and Freda informed his poetry but also contributed to an inevitable emotional turmoil. He died in mysterious circumstances on active service in Burma: was his death an accident or suicide? And did his triangular relationship with Gweno and Freda contribute to the ending of his life?
Essentially the story of Lewis’s short and sometimes tortured life, the book is also the story about how it was written. It quotes extensively from interviews with and correspondence from the main players in the story, and explores the sometimes difficult and delicate territories to be negotiated by the biographer as a story unfolds.