Charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler "the warring sons of warring sons" in the countryside of western Ireland.
"It was the first tractor on the mountain and its arrival would be remembered and relayed; the day, the hour of evening, and the way crows circled above it, blackening the sky, fringed, soundless, auguring."
Edna OBriens masterly new novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations betweenJoseph Brennan and Mick Bugler "the warring sons of warring sons" in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, OBrien brings Josephs love for his land to the level of his sister Breeges love for both him and his rival, Bugler. Breege sees "the wrong of years and the recent wrongs" fuel each other as Bugler comes to claim recently inherited acreage on what her brother calls "my mountain." A classic drama ensues, involving the full range of human bonds and betrayals and leavened by the human comedy of which Edna OBrien rarely loses sight. A dinner dance in the local village and the seduction of Mick Bugler by an eager pair of uninhibited sisters rival Joyce in their hectic exuberance. But as the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into the sense of foreboding in a place where "fields mean more than fields, more than life and more than death too."
Cloontha it is called - a locality within the bending of an arm. A few scattered houses, the old fort, lime-dank and jabbery and from the great whooshing belly of the lake between grassland and callow land a road, sluicing the little fortresses of ash and elder, a crooked road to the mouth of the mountain. Fields that mean more than fields, more than life and more than death too. In the summer months calves going suck suck suck, blue dribble threading from their black lips, their white faces stark as clowns. Hawthorn and whitethorn, boundaries of dreaming pink. Byroad and bog road. The bronze gold grasses in a tacit but unremitting sway. Listen. Shiver of wild grass and cluck of wild fowl. Quickening.
Fathoms deep the frail and rusted shards, the relics of battles of the long ago, and in the basins of limestone, quiet in death, the bone babes and the bone mothers, the fathers too. The sires. The buttee men and the long-legged men who hacked and hacked and into the ...
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by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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