One Day as a Tiger

Anne Haverty, Author Ecco $22 (264p) ISBN 978-0-88001-558-5
A quirky but intriguing debut, this novel takes place mostly in rural Ireland. Marty Hawkins is a brilliant young history scholar set for success at Trinity College, Dublin. After the death of his parents, however, he has a breakdown and abandons his promising academic career to return to the family farm in Fansha, Tipperary, run by his brother Pierce. Wallowing in loneliness and hopelessly in love with his brother's wife, Etti, he exists aimlessly until a freakish, genetically engineered lamb touches his heart. ""Missy"" only serves to hasten the disintegration of his reason, however; and, in the heat of summer, Marty and Etti take on a bizarre quest that will have disastrous consequences. Haverty's depiction of life in Ireland's rural communities is brilliant: one resonant chapter captures the rituals and rivalries of the village pub on a Saturday night. Elsewhere, the author's ear for dialogue keenly reproduces the local vernacular. But most importantly, she portrays a country in metamorphosis from an agricultural economy to a contemporary European state, as seen in the contrast between Pierce's scientific progressiveness and the old-style farming of his neighbor. Though Haverty succeeds in building an eerie atmosphere that escalates as the plot progresses, readers may be left somewhat unfulfilled by an abrupt ending. Yet the considerable skill and promise she manifests here leaves us eager for subsequent work. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-88001-667-4
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