Its summer and nothing much is happening in Rathmoye. So it doesnt go unnoticed when a dark-haired stranger appears on his bicycle and begins photographing the mourners at Mrs. Connultys funeral. Florian Kilderry couldnt know that the Connultys are said to own half the town: he has only come to Rathmoye to photograph the scorched remains of its burnt-out cinema.
A few miles out in the country, Dillahan, a farmer and a decent man, has married again: Ellie is the young convent girl who came to work for him when he was widowed. Ellie leads a quiet, routine life, often alone while Dillahan runs the farm.
Florian is planning to leave Ireland and start over. Ellie is settled in her new role as Dillahans wife. But Florians visit to Rathmoye introduces him to Ellie, and a dangerously reckless attachment begins.
In a characteristically masterly way Trevor evokes the passions and frustrations felt by Ellie and Florian, and by the people of a small Irish town during one long summer.
On a June evening some years after the middle of the last century Mrs Eileen Connulty passed through the town of Rathmoye: from Number 4 The Square to Magennis Street, into Hurley Lane, along Irish Street, across Cloughjordan Road to the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer. Her night was spent there.
The life that had come to an end had been one of good works and resolution, with a degree of severity in domestic and family matters. The anticipation of personal contentment, which had long ago influenced Mrs Connulty’s acceptance of the married state and the bearing of two children, had since failed her: she had been disappointed in her husband and in her daughter. As death approached, she had feared she would now be obliged to join her husband and prayed she would not have to. Her daughter she was glad to part from; her son — now in his fiftieth year, her pet since first he lay in her arms as an infant — Mrs Connulty had wept to leave behind.
Anyone drawn to the title and expecting a Nicholas Sparks/Bridges of Madison County-style romance should approach with caution, but those who appreciate exquisitely paced narratives and keen emotional insights will relish this bracing examination of love and its limits.
(Reviewed by Marnie Colton).
Full Review (1003 words).
An Irish Lexicography
When reading Love and Summer, American readers will encounter many Irish words and phrases with which they may not be familiar. What follows is a list of some of these, highlighted within a sentence from the book, along with the accompanying definition. Definitions come from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
1. By the time the stairs had been hoovered, tea-towels hung up to dry and the daily girl sent home, it was evening.(8)
Vaccuumed (used throughout the British Isles).
2. 'I'm sorry,' she said, turning to face him. 'Arrah, it doesn't matter' (18).
An expletive expressing emotion or excitement, common in Anglo-Irish speech.
3. He hadn't noticed the ring he saw when he looked for it now - so skimpy, so ...
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Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these tales about departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, and outgoings and homecomings both imagined and real, paint a radiant, indelible portrait of how strange, perilous, and extraordinary ordinary life can be.
A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.
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