It’s funny, isn’t it how things collide in a certain time?
For example: a colleague is from Sligo and we talked about Yeats so I read Yeat’s Ghosts: The Secret Life of W B Yeats by Brenda Maddox.
A dance friend suggested Sebastian Barry. So I did. Read him. (In the interval the nurse who took blood was from my great-grandmother’s County Meath and knows her village Knobber).
First of all I read The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty which astonished and saddened me. Dislocation, sadness, pride, loyalty. It’s the story of an Irishman from Sligo who ends up signing up for the constabulary at a time when other people think other things are right. This decision affects his whole life; rather the decisions of the other forces affect his whole life.
During his travails and travels he finds some comforts and joys, but is always hounded by others’ loyalties to causes.
One of the people with whom he finds passing comfort is his former sister-in-law Roseanne whose story we pick up in The Secret Scriptures.
By now she is nearly 100 years old and writing some memories, while the doctor in the asylum assesses her ‘case’.
The language is powerful and poetic; the memories possibly erroneous due to being young when things happened and not seeing the whole picture, some images may have been muddled over time, others are clear and true and her sense of self is strong. Her sense of humanness is strong too even though most humans have treated her badly, some on suspicion of her beauty.
It’s also a tale of previous pasts and their effect on the present, of how humans try to manipulate their fates.
It’s poetic, beautiful and stirring.
Image of Knocknarea from the website: http://www.megalithicireland.com/Knocknarea.htm