Byron Rogers new biography, of the Welsh poet and vicar R.S. Thomas, has been hailed as a masterpiece, even as a work of genius, by reviewers from Craig Brown to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The biographys greatest strength, however, which should ensure it a wide sale in paperback, is, as reviewers were surprised to find, that Rogers has made of someone thought of as a wintry, austere and unsociable curmudgeon and extremely funny book riotously so, in Rowan Williams words. Here is a man who banned Hoovers from his house on grounds of noise, whose first act on moving into an ancient cottage was to rip out the central heating, whose attempts to seek out more authentically Welsh parishes only brought him more into contact with loud English holidaymakers. To Thomass many admirers this will be a surprising, sometimes shocking, but at last humanising portrait of someone who wrote truly metaphysical poetry.

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