A Janus-Faced Nation

A Janus-Faced Nation


From Planet 253

by Rachel Trezise

    Taking loose inspiration from Planet Patron Jan Morris’s book A Machynlleth Triad, and the double-headed Romano-Celtic god Janus, this new series reflects on the past, present and future of a particular place in Wales. This aligns with Planet’s role in bringing a fragmented nation into dialogue with itself. It also connects to another of our key purposes: to draw on the resources of the past to work for a better future.

It was the end of the working day in Rajasthan, noise from the traffic on the Jagatpura Road outside waning, but lunchtime in the UK, news stories about the EU withdrawal agreement beginning to surface on my Facebook feed. That wasn’t what I cared about. The 2020 winner of the Great British High Street Award was due to be announced so before I took a pre-dinner nap in the hope of alleviating my jet lag in order to appear clear-headed at my event at The Jaipur Literature Festival the next day, I refreshed my feed again. And there it was; the high street of my hometown, Treorchy, crowned the UK’s best. Why, having just visited the UNESCO world heritage site of the Amer Fort, and, for the first time in my life seeing elephants and leaf monkeys outside of a zoo, I found the high street news so thrilling, I wasn’t sure. Treorchy is the place where I take all my experiences from new countries visited; unpack my suitcase and stick souvenir magnets to the fridge – mentally process the events of the last weeks of my life. Treorchy is home and the world is something that happens somewhere else. But there I was in northern India, and the scoop was coming from south Wales.

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About the author

Rachel Trezise is an award-winning novelist and playwright.