Down by the Glenside: Memoirs of an Irish Boyhood

Sean O'Callaghan, Author
Sean O'Callaghan, Author Learning Links $14.95 (172p) ISBN 978-1-85635-004-4
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A series of brief and loosely connected character sketches makes up this autobiographical tale of life on a small farm in the Irish countryside of the 1920s and 1930s. The characters portrayed are intriguing, and O'Callaghan, formerly a journalist with the London Daily Mirror , has an eye and an ear for the sharp detail that communicates an entire personality. He tells of watching his mother clip his rugged grandfather's toenails in front of the fire while the old man reprimanded her for cutting too closely, and of riding from pub to pub with his mother in search of his father, finally locating him by the sound of his booming, singing voice. The author's memories about himself are amusing if somewhat generic: losing his virginity in a barn, learning to box in order to defeat a school bully and dealing with embarrassing questions in the confessional. He also paints a raucous picture of the ``American wake'' held for an emigrating cousin before her departure and describes how she had changed when she returned. When he joins the Irish Republican Army, the book takes on a somber tone and tackles the subject of Irish politics of that era. (Jan.)
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