Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Read - Bailieborough Reading Group

Academy Street by Mary Costello

Growing up in the west of Ireland in the 1940s Tess is a shy introverted child. But beneath her quiet exterior lies a heart of fire. A fire that will later drive her to make her home among the hurly burly of 1960s New York. Over four decades and a life lived with quiet intensity on Academy Street in upper Manhattan, Tess encounters ferocious love and calamitous loss. But what endures is her bravery and fortitude, and her striking insights even as she is 'floating close to hazard.' Joyous and heart-breaking, restrained but sweeping, this is a profoundly moving story that charts one woman's quest for belonging amid the dazzle and tumult of America's greatest city. Academy Street establishes Mary Costello as one of Ireland's most exciting literary voices.

Awards: Winner of the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards Irish Novel of the Year, 2014.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

March Read - Cavan Reading Group

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín

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Set in the late 1960s in Wexford, Nora Webster is a woman struggling to come to terms with the loss of her husband Maurice. Living in a small community where well-meaning neighbours continually interrupt her to express their grief at her loss and provide unwanted 'advice' of what she must do now, Nora just wants to continue on in solitude. Raising four children alone and faced with making decisions independently, leads Nora to discover hidden strengths. Through unexpected gifts of new friendships and music, Nora may find a way to live a happy life again.

March Read - Belturbet Reading Group

Road Ends by Mary Lawson

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On a perfect August morning in 1967, above a river just outside a small town in the north of Canada, a young man meets his death. And so begins the unravelling of his best friend Tom's already precarious family. Eighteen months on, and the town of Struan is in the grip of winter. Still reeling from his friend's death, Tom has dropped out and spends his days driving a snow plough. His mother has yet another new baby and is nesting upstairs, increasingly lost in her own world. His father, Edward, retreats to his study and his diaries, unable to cope with his growing, unruly family. There are so many brothers in the house that Tom has almost lost count, but Adam, who is only four, somehow can't be ignored. Their one sister - capable, dependable, formidable Megan - who used to run the show, has escaped to London and is finally living her own life. 

But then come disturbing letters from homeIn this masterful, enthralling, and tender novel, which takes us from the silver rush in Northern Ontario in the early 1900s to London in the 60s, Mary Lawson gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy and, in time, hope to start again.