Belinda McKeon. Scribner, $24 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-1054-3
McKeon's debut, a study of a modern Ireland at odds with its past, tracks the tragic trajectory of Mark Casey, a doctoral student in Dublin, and his father, Tom, a farmer, both men forged from the same stubborn Irish midland stock and unable to see eye to eye. While Mark struggles to complete his dissertation on 19th-century novelist Maria Edgeworth, whose family estate happens to be just down the road from the Casey farm, Tom demands Mark's presence back in the fields, harvesting and baling hay. Tom's mother, Maura, brokers an uneasy compromise, pulling Mark back home in time to save him grief and the farm failure, then releasing him again to the city. This fragile family balance is disrupted when Mark gets involved with Joanne Lynch, a striking lawyer in training, and the daughter of Tom's hometown sworn enemy, now dead, but no less despised. Joanne's unplanned pregnancy stuns everyone, but the arrival of little Aoife reorders their worlds and renders the old demands petty. When a tragic accident upsets this happy peace, father and son are forced to confront their differences and find a way to co-exist. McKeon's characters transcend archetype and sidestep melodrama as the author delivers a moving story that reflects her Irish nationality and etches the confounding struggle of a country in transition, where the past mythologizes as the present seduces. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4516-1425-1
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-330-53559-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-4516-1655-2
Hardcover - 326 pages - 978-0-330-52984-6
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