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by Bill W
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?Imaginative and lovingly executed...There is something profound going on in this novel...? ?Times Literary Supplement
The man held hostage by fundamentalist Sh'ite militiamen in the suburbs of Beirut was visited and sustained by the presence of Turlough O'Carolan during captivity. Now he tells O'Carolan's story, rich with the textures and smells of rural Ireland and peopled by a house of angels and devils. Turlough is narrated largely by the legendary blind Irish harper from his death bed, and through the recollections of those closest to him. It powerfully evokes a lost Ireland of famine and disease, eviction and oppression. O'Carolan's Rabelaisian desire for drink and women is counterpointed by his artistic struggle towards the great music and some kind of inner peace. Driven by demons and dreams, riven by contradictions, Turlough emerges as a great man, full of frailty: a blind man afraid of the dark. The book is a remarkable historical journey, and a huge imaginative feat.
Inside Flap Copy
While held hostage by fundamental Shi?ite militiamen in the suburbs of Beirut, the author, Brian Keenan was visited and sustained by the presence of Turlough O?Carolan ? the legendary, blind Irish harper of the seventeenth century. That?s why this novel is both a moving recreation of an extraordinary historical story, and also, obliquely a parallel life ? another life imprisoned, and shaped by the dark.
Narrated largely by O?Carolan on his death bed, the novel powerfully brings to life a lost Ireland of famine and disease, eviction and oppression. Stalking through the broken and dispossessed comes Turlough O?Carolan, the musical prodigy, blinded by smallpox and now an itinerant harper, lauded by the aristocracy and a hero to his people.
From the Back Cover
“Imaginative and lovingly executed...There is something profound going on in this novel...” –Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Brian Keenan was born in Belfast in 1950. An Evil Cradling, his account of being held hostage for four and a half years, was published in 1992.
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