I admit I was not fully convinced when I bought this book. There was a time in my life when I liked nothing better than a family saga, but it seems to have passed. What finally decided was the fact that the story takes place during The Great Famine and none of the other books I bought references this period, so important in Irish history.
It is a story of Foley family, parents Francis and Emer and four sons Tomas, Finbar, Finan and Teige. We meet them when the sons get separated by the circumstances first from their mother and shortly after from their father. During the course of hte story the whole family gets scattered and stives to be reunited. Narration jumps from one person to the next moving the story forward, but I think we spend most of the time with Teige, the yourgest son, only twelve at the beginning of the story, who has a horsewhisperer gift. Together with the Foley’s we travel across Ireland, continental Europe, Unites States and Canada. The story moves slowly ofen taking us back when members of the family meet and tell each other the parts of their livesthe others have missed.
Language matches the pace of the story, often romantic and lyrical. Fo me it was a slow read, at times too slow, not necessarily all about the characters or their story. It felt like a fairy tale, but not the Disney variety, more like a folk tale.
It reminded me why I liked reading folk ales so much as a child. This dreamy quality, real world, but with people turning into swans bein completely normal occurrence. Actually I liked reading them so much that a some point my mum has run out of ideas for book she could get me and gave me Greek mythology telling me it’s just like the fairy tales. It worked well, I’ve read it probably five times before going to high school nd from time to time I till go back to it.
What were your favorite fairy/folk tales? Did you read the Grimm brothers? Did you find their tales a tiny bit cruel, violent and creepy?
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska