Rainbow's End, written in first-person narrative style, is primarily a contemporary cultural and social study. Its underlying themes include national identity and the perennial search for 'belonging', and asks where Wales fits into the modern world.The story begins as a bleak assessment of modern life in the South Wales valleys. The lead character has worked in the same local factory 'putting things in boxes' for eight years; he is bored in his long-term relationship and yearns for the freedom to explore, both literally and figuratively. A trip abroad stirs an awakening of sorts, and on his return to the confines of work the narrator begins a torrid affair with a colleague. This quickly turns sour; he feels isolated and restricted, and only does the things he needs to do, as opposed to the things he wants to do. As the relationship, and his life, crumbles around him he turns to writing as a means of self-expression.Before too long his writing exploits make him a focal point of attention in the village where he lives, but this success is tempered by the worsening condition of his relationship. Eventually, after a run-in with the local police, he is forced to flee to Southampton, where he wins a place on a media course at university. At last, he is free to indulge both his fascination with writing and his wanderlust, as he finally breaks free of the chains that had bound him for most of his life. Belatedly, he realizes that life can be whatever you make it. The blinkers have finally been removed.However, in Southampton he discovers that the grass is not always greener, as he is targeted by bigoted racists who see him as a 'foreigner.' There are also problems when he returns to his hometown and his small group of lifelong friends reject him because of his perceived act of disloyalty in moving to England. Disillusioned and perpetually luckless in love, he eventually decides to start a new life in Beijing in search of adventure, worthwhile employment, enlightenment, and ultimately...happiness.