Des Kenny's Book Reviews
THE opening verse of Geraldine Mills' new poetry collection, The Bone Road, reads: “They’re glad to see the back/of all the wind-crippled whins,/turn their heads from/the rain over Achill Island,/smoor the final fire.”
On the back cover, Mills tells us that a Quaker, Mr Tuke, visited the west of Ireland during the Great Famine. Haunted by what he saw, he returned in 1880 and saw it was still ravaged by congestion and poverty. In order to alleviate the destitution, he set up an Assisted Emigration Scheme known as the 'Tuke Fund' which supported whole families going to North America with their passage paid, a set of new clothes, and landing money when they arrived.
An Ariel View of Seventeenth Century Galway
The first paragraph of the introduction to the fascinating book “Renaissance Galway Delineating the Seventeenth-Century City” written by Paul Walsh and recently published by the Royal Irish Academy reads:
“Galway is unique among Irish cities in possessing a map that not just provides a bird’s-eye view of the urban landscape at a critical juncture in its history but also offers insights into cultural, socio-political and religious outlooks of the town’s ruling elite at this time. The printed map is a glorification of Galway, a celebration of its importance, wealth and power in the years immediately preceding its surrender to parliamentary forces in 1652. That it was made to impress is evinced not only in the visual impact of the heraldic embellishments and decorative artistry employed but also in the wealth of detail recorded, much of which might otherwise remain unknown”.
Fourteen Irish Working lives are highlighted in the book and include - amongst others - a Birdman, an Embalmer, a Gardener, a Sewer Man a Chiropodist a Train Driver and an Air Traffic Controller.
The cover of the recently published book “Irish Working Lives” written by Marie Louise O’Donnell, illustrated by Eric Luke’s photographs is inviting and attractive, one of those rare occasions when a book can be judged by its cover.
The Essence of Absurdity
by Des Kenny
The first paragraph in the first story of Nicole Flattery’s first collection “Show Them a Good Time” reads: “The schemes were for people with plenty of time, or people not totally unfamiliar with being treated like shit. I was intimate with both situations. Management interviewed me - bizarre questions through an inch of plexiglass: How long, in hours, have you been unemployed? Did you misspend your youth throwing stones at passing cars?