Kathleen: A Dublin Saga

Brian Behan, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-02593-9
The author's brother was the late Brendan Behan, the colorful Irish writer and media personality, and this rambling, largely engaging tale is a fictionalized rendering of their mother's life. As might be expected, then, there are the requisite evocations of raunchy backstreet Dublin as backdrop to the meandering story of Kathleen Corr, raised as a charity convent orphan, and living in Dublin at the time of the Easter rebellion. Ill-used by lovers and husbands, Kathleen nurtures a growing brood. Among them, Liam (read Brendan), the first son, is best loved; Dermot (the author) is an envious second. The attempt to weave many strandsnascent Irish nationalism, sexual mores, the lively cultural sceneinto the story of a woman whose fame is anchored in the popularity of her notoriously outspoken son, falters early on. Contrived appearances of other famous Dubliners, e.g., James Joyce and Nora Barnacle, do little for the coherence of the discursive tale. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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