In honour of ST. Patty’s Day and the ‘Little People.’

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day I would like to bring to you attention a small fact that you might not be familiar with. A £100 million motorway was delayed for many years in Ireland because a bush in the planned route was believed to be a ‘Fairy Bush’. The outcry from the community was so enormous at the proposed destruction of the said tree that the motorway company was forced to reroute the highway to thus save the bush and the fairies from their annual gathering.

News Story : Fairy bush survives the motorway

All I can say to this is god bless the Irish, who for generations have bestowed upon us their thought provoking, enormously, talented literature; incorporating both humour and devastating tragedy along the way, but always with the integrity of  true story writing. If we look at their descriptive prose we see an artist at work. What would we have done without the inimitable Oscar Wilde, his plays, his quotes, bring laughter and tears. Who can forget ‘Be yourself, everybody else is taken’ or ‘Education is an admirable thing but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught’  A few ‘Irish’  recommendations from Novelist Plus follow:

 

Brooklyn, Colm Toibin

(Now a major movie production)

‘Beginning in the southwestern Ireland town of Enniscorthy during the early 1950s, where dutiful daughter, doting sister, and aspiring bookkeeper Eilis Lacey lives with her mother and older sister, Rose. Her brothers have long since left Ireland to seek work in England, and Eilis herself soon departs for Brooklyn , NY. Once there, she attempts to master living and working in a strange land and to quell an acute and threatening loneliness. Initially friendless and of few means, Eilis gradually embraces new freedoms. She excels in work and school, falls in love, and begins to imagine a life in America. When tragedy strikes in Enniscorthy, however, Eilis returns to discover the hopes and aspirations once beyond her grasp are now hers for the taking. Tóibín conveys Eilis’s transformative struggles with an aching lyricism reminiscent of the mature Henry James and ultimately confers upon his readers a sort of grace that illuminates the opportunities for tenderness in our lives. Both more accessible and more sublime than his previous works, this is highly recommended.’

Yesterday’s Weather, Anne Enright

‘Fury, tenderness, incomprehension and impulse illuminate scenes of modern life (work life, family life or a solitary life), highlighting the gulf and yearning stretching between men and women as they deal with attraction, procreation, money and mortality. The title story tidily encompasses the emotional range (and rage) of a couple managing a family visit with their newborn child, and similar fast-moving squalls of behavior mark others, like ‘Pale Caravan,” in which a wife and mother struggles to cope with her kids and husband simultaneously.  “Hands I Loved, Beside the Shalimar” is a heartbreaking description of compassion extended toward a mentally disturbed friend, one of many tales of sex and friendship, lust and separate destinies. Contemporary Ireland is generally the setting although there are rare departures. Eloquent images light up these overlapping stories like flares—a line of tulips flattened by the wind; a swarm of bees on a gatepost; a dusting of flour on a carpet. And, as always with Enright, there is mesmerizing language that can switch from comic to lyric in a blink.’

The Wonder, Emma Donoghue

‘Lib Wright has survived the Crimean War and a failed marriage by the time she’s summoned to central Ireland to watch over 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, whose parents claim she has eaten no food in four months. The girl’s physician, Dr. McBrearty, and a committee of local bigwigs have hired Lib and a nun to provide round-the-clock surveillance. Lib quickly realizes that Dr. McBrearty, at least, is weirdly anxious to prove the girl’s fast is no hoax, even if he deplores loose talk of a miracle. An advocate of the scientific nursing principles preached by Florence Nightingale, Lib has nothing but contempt for such an absurd idea. Yet she is charmed by Anna, as whip-smart as she is pious, and alarmed when the girl’s surprisingly robust health begins to falter shortly after the nurses’ watch begins. Nonetheless, nothing can excuse the wall of denial Lib slams into as she desperately tries to get Anna’s parents and the committee even to acknowledge how sick the child is. The story’s resolution seems like pure wish fulfillment, but vivid, tender scenes between Lib and Anna, coupled with the pleasing romance that springs up between feisty Lib and the appreciative Byrne, will incline most readers to grant Donoghue her tentative happy ending.’

An Irish Country Love Story, Patrick Taylor

‘Taylor (The Wily O’Reilly, 2014) adds another delightful chapter to his heartwarming Irish Country series. Readers will welcome a return to Ballybucklebo, a charming Irish village populated by a cast of eccentric yet affectionately rendered characters. As usual, the heart of the story revolves around Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, the Ballybucklebo’s devoted doctor, and the loyal and true people who orbit around him, including his associates, Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Nonie Stevens, and a variety of devoted patients. This tale is set in the winter of 1967, when the good doctor is in danger of losing his beloved home, an alarming predicament that will literally take an entire village to solve. Interweaving several story strands to craft a cozy patchwork quilt of a novel, Taylor ensures that hearts will be warmed as myriad problems are tackled with love, kindness, and gentle humor.’