Lynch was born in the United States, but, like so many Americans, his roots go back to Ireland. In 1970, Lynch visits the humble cottage in West Clare from which his great-grandfather had departed nearly a century before, and meets his cousins and other relatives for the first time. In the decades since, Lynch has returned to Ireland, sharing stories and gaining wisdom. National Book Award finalist.
Comments from Groups
All agreed the book was an easy read although at times somewhat rambling. Enjoyed the idioms and Irish expressions. Auckland 015 No shortage of discussion as some of us have Irish ancestry. It is possible that one needs to be Catholic to appreciate this book. Richmond 005 A beautiful, poetically written book, and no surprise to discover that the author is a critically acclaimed poet. Contains seriously thought provoking material, which stays with the reader for some time after reading - a good sign! What a discussion! Some enjoyed the book more than others. All appreciated the author's wit and insight. Murchison 001 Mixed reaction. Those with Irish heritage related strongly to it. Napier 005
This book created a good discussion but some people found they liked some sections better than others. It was easier to comprehend when regarded as a book of essays. We found the topics wide-ranging, with a lovely turn of phrase and some delightful Irish humour, and general agreement that Thomas Lynch could be our funeral director! We spent some time investigating our own heritage and deciding how we would describe ourselves - not Pakeha, but mostly of Scottish and Irish descent.
Most of us enjoyed the author's yarns. His wonderful use of language; his memories of his relatives especially Nora. We had a real feel for Morveen, and we loved the humour and the poetry. The failings of the Catholic Church were fully discussed, as were the strength and power of The Faith. You felt that Irish Catholicism and the community were intertwined.
All enjoyed the book. Interesting discussion about our own identity with our ancestors and their place of origin. Also about collective identity - what draws and binds people together as a group - and what the 'otherness' the author talks about is based on. There was some sentimentality in the book, but not overwhelmingly, and we all felt that, combined with the author's poetic use of language, it added to the "Irishness" of the whole. Would definitely recommend to others.
We enjoyed this book though many thought it over long. A lively discussion was had.
Excellent book - let down slightly by the last couple of chapters, almost as if the author didn't quite know how to finish. For all that, we would recommend it.