Dear Great Book Guru, I was at the annual Barbara Pym conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on St Patrick’s Day weekend. While there was much talk of Pym, some the attendees spoke of an Irish writer who had just written a new book set in rural Ireland that was highly acclaimed. Are you familiar with this book? Lover of All Things Pym and Irish
Dear Lover of All Things Pym and Irish, Donal Ryan’s latest novel THE QUEEN OF DIRT ISLAND is a wonderful book to read as March comes to an end - the month of the Irish! It is the tale of three women and three generations living in a small rural village in Tipperary. Mary, the grandmother, is a spinner of fantastical yarns. Eileen is her bookmaker daughter-in-law and the widowed mother of Saoirse (meaning freedom in Irish). Most of the novel is told from the perspective of Saoirse who we meet as a newborn and follow throughout her life to adulthood. The travails of all three are met with bravery and laughter while the men in their lives seem only to add to their daily trials. Within each short chapter, there lie tales of betrayal and cruelty, but also tales of great love and redemption. When mother and daughter are confronted with the truth of Dirt Island, we see the enormous strength each possesses. A truly remarkable book and highly recommended!