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American Interior, by Gruff Rhys, Hamish Hamilton, RRP£20, 320 pages
In American Interior, Gruff Rhys, the singer with Welsh band Super Furry Animals, sets out on an “investigative concert tour” accompanied by a 3ft-tall felt avatar of his ancestor John Evans.
Evans was a farmhand from Snowdonia who, in 1792, went in search of the Madogwys, a fabled tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans. He was last seen heading into the wilderness and Rhys follows in his footsteps, playing gigs and hunting for traces of Evans and other early Welsh settlers who broke ground in the North American interior.
This book is just part of Rhys’s creative output from the trip – there’s also an app, movie and album that add to the multi-platform experience of rattling along with the singer and his silent companion. Written in an exuberant, entertaining style, American Interior is alive to the quixotic nature of Evans’ quest, while offering a sideways look at the nexus between history and myth.