by Ann Gardiner
Born Ann Kearney in Burncourt, every part of the author's life has been captured by her vivid memory, and the qualities of her people - generous, sensible, wise, learned, self-effacing - have all come to fruition in this work. Her style is homely and lively, her great gift is minuteness of description and a keen sense of the moment. Her writing has something of a camera quality, and that is very valuable for all of us who wish to learn. With her, we observe and experience the actions , which show character, we hear the voices, we sense the occasion, and we see the shades of light and the mingling of colours.
Ann describes with verve and no small amount of humour the life lived by many of us for several years in urban flatlands, the sense of independence that we enjoyed but which alternated with a searing longing for the community life with different accents and different sensitivities - all of course inherent in the rich variety if place and custom which is the human experience. And then there is the lyrical note - her romance with the brilliant traditional musician Bobby Gardiner who became her husband, not to mention the joy of rearing children in a happy family.
On the broader plane, it can be said that Ann Gardiner represents our success in maintaining continuity between past and present in Ireland. Her own young family reflects the same basic values as the family who reared her, new sentiment reflects the old in changing circumstances, the spirit of human feeling persists and stretches into the future. This is a book which upholds all of that, which is quiet in its confidence, fulfilling rather than deceptive in its simplicity and most off enjoyable in its reading.
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Date of Publication: 08/12/2009