Read #146

This is a shape-shifter of a book, that deals with “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland, where she was born – the child of Catholic and Protestant parents, who suffered a petrol bombing – and raised and where she has lived on and off in adulthood, as well as a book charting her struggles with her mental and physical health, and yet it is not a “heavy” book – that is not to say it is easy, or that it skirts issues, it doesn’t but the way she writes – which is engrossing, poetic and suffused with the natural world – is so heart-warming that you can’t help but feel uplifted: its not giving anything away to say that in the end I found this a book of hope, albeit set against the looming clouds of the damage that the Brexit situation and a lack of empathetic (or even grown-up) government might cause to the peace settlement.

There is a harmony with Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun in the way that some personal peace is found through an engagement with nature – an immersion in nature, given where she ends up, not to mention a love of outdoor swimming – after a lifetime of drifting / moving around the British Isles – Derry, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Bristol.

I have my own idea what those Thin Places are – I suspect that everyone will have their own – for me it is the type of North Atlantic coast, best described by Seamus Heaney in poems like Postscript:

And some time make the time to drive out west / Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore, / In September or October, when the wind / And the light are working off each other / So that the ocean on one side is wild / With foam and glitter, and inland among stones / The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit

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2 thoughts on “Read #146

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  1. Hi Nick, please could you type in the title of each book as well as the image, so that the title then appears in your email newsletter. I do like to read your book reviews. Thanks.

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