In the 1950s, William Maginn is drinking in a London pub when he
hears of the strange demise of an isolated mountain village in
County Kerry - the place where he was born. Returning to Kerry,
Maginn realises that there is an astonishing story to be told: the
sad destruction of a town which encapsulated Ireland's ancient
traditions and mystery. All the women in the village have
mysteriously died, with a priest, Father McCready, left to sort out
the chaos. In the outer world, war rages as Maginn attempts to save
what is left of the parish and deal with the distrust and
superstition of the townsfolk. O'Doherty is a writer with a very
individual gift, and this fascinating tale is couched in language
that is both poetic and allusive. The central narrative is handled
with all the authority and power one could wish for (with the
editor hero Maginn sympathetically and richly drawn). But it is the
elegant prose, ever involving the reader deeper and deeper in the
strange, unreal situation that truly mesmerises. Whether read as a
penetrating vision of a small village under threat from tension
within, or as a magical and atmospheric piece of fine writing,
O'Doherty's unusual book convinces on all levels. (Kirkus UK)
In a London pub in the 1950's, editor William Maginn is intrigued
by a mention a the strange - and reputedly shameful - demise of a
remote mountain village in County Kerry, where he was born. Maginn
returns to Kerry and uncovers an astonishing tale: both the account
of the destruction of a place and the way of life which once
preserved Ireland's ancient traditions and the tragedy of an
increasingly isolated village where all the women mysteriously die
- leaving the priest, Father McGreevy, to cope with insoluble
problems. As war rages through Europe, McGreevy struggles to
preserve what remains of his parish, against the rough mountain
elements and the grief and superstitions of its people, and the
growing distrust of the town below.
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