Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Great Book Guru,   Last weekend I had the most wonderful time at a ceilidh here in Sea Cliff. I know- you are asking: what is a ceilidh? Well, it is a night of Irish songs, poems and prose, going back to ancient times in Ireland.  Joe Hughes, a Sea Cliff musician of much renown, performed with a crowd of   enthusiastic fans accompanying him. The poetry of William Butler Yeats was featured prominently and literary talk filled the air. Over desserts and port, one of the party goers mentioned a novel set in present day Ireland about a Roman Catholic priest dealing with a crisis of conscience. Are you familiar with it? Fan of the Ceilidh

Dear Fan of the Ceilidh,  I have attended many a ceilidh and they are always great fun. HISTORY OF LONELINESS by John Boyne is a hauntingly beautiful book about Father Odran Yates, a good man who finds himself questioning choices he has made over the years. When his father and young brother died under mysterious circumstances, his mother became obsessively devout and convinced teenaged Odran to enter the seminary.   Now forty years later, he wonders how he might have lived his life differently.  The narrative shifts in and out of the decades and we see how the corrupting forces of politics and greed bring down even a very good man.  Recommended!

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