Death Grows on You

Niki Hill, Author Viking Penguin $18.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7181-3351-1
Irish journalist Hill offers a bittersweet story of love lost and found against the smoldering backdrop of Northern Ireland. After finding herself a key witness to an IRA bombing in Belfast, Belle Johnston has returned to her childhood village, her two small sons in tow. She is estranged from her husband, who is active in the UDC, the military defense forces in the village. But the peace and quiet she seeks in Armagh elude her as realization dawns that she has not left the Troubles behind; even in this sleepy village plots swirl around her. A flirtation with the mysterious local schoolteacher, Pat Quinn, deepens to something more. But violence intrudes and Belle is called upon to declare her loyalties. The conflicted aspects of Belle's motives are handled well, from the tinge of past incest to her lack of conviction about the issues signified by the Troubles. Hill has captured the daily experience of most Irish people, Protestants and Catholics, living with perpetual unrest, and it is to her credit that this book carries no political message beyond a strong disapproval of violence. This novel is a taut and suspenseful read that brings home the Troubles more effectively than many a nonfiction analysis. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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