Ireland – Colm Tóibín – Nora Webster – March 2016 (Score 8.08)
only read two of Colm Tóibín’s books, this one and “Brooklyn”. Within two pages
I found them to be linked. May Lacey, who came to visit Norah Webster to
commiserate with her about the death of her husband, is the mother of Eilis,
the protagonist of “Brooklyn”.
about the task of ridding the family of those parts of their lives which she no
longer wanted to hold onto. She went to Cush and decided to sell their old
summer house, collecting just a few photos and books to take home for the
family. Nora has four children, Fiona, in teacher training in Dublin, Aine at
school in Bunclody, Daniel, at school near home, and Conor, the younger boy,
also at school.
the boys to Dublin for a day. They bought books at Easons, and went to Bewleys
for a meal. They crossed the Ha’penny Bridge on their way back to the station.
I did all of these during our holiday in Dublin last Christmas and New Year. In
fact, I bought nine books from Easons, mainly on Irish subjects.
– I read Teilhard de Chardin in my teens (from the library). I could make
nothing of him. In fact, I had forgotten about him until I read this page.
Aunt Josie paid a visit. The boys had stayed with her for two months while
Maurice was dying. They behaved strangely quietly and ignored her. Daniel woke
up screaming from a nightmare that night. Nora wondered if something happened
during the stay and went, later, to see Josie who was straight-faced and silent
about things, except to wonder why the boys were left with her so long.
and 71 – I laughed out loud at the story of the fire-irons and the sheep.
went to work at Gibney’s where she worked before she married. This was at the specific
request of Mr Gibney. She was to work for Francie Cavanagh whom she did not
like, and who detested her. Kavanagh proved herself to be a really nasty piece
113 there is a discussion of the TV news of a civil rights march in Derry being
broken up by the police, brutally. We follow Nora and her family though happy
times and sad times, getting to know them. Tóibín has a deft touch in making
his characters come to life.
showed how strong a woman she was when Conor was moved, together with two other
pupils (the three of them being the best pupils) from the A-class to the
B-class. The Christian Brother in charge of the primary school gave no reason.
Nora sent letters to ll of the teachers at the school to say that she would
start to picket the school on a certain day if Conor was not moved back into
the A-class. Two teachers visited her and she told them that she had her
placard prepared and, if any teachers crossed her picket line she would put a
widow’s curse on them “and you know how powerful a widow’s curse is. Conor was
returned to the A-class.
story tells us a lot about the power of the Catholic Church in Ireland at the
time and about the continuing folk ways and beliefs in the old ways. It was
certainly interesting to read about the Irish reaction to the events in Derry.
learned to sing, and was introduced to Classical music> She took to it like
a thirsty person who had been given water. She went back to work, reduced it to
part time so that she could still have the opportunity to do the things she
on the complete redecoration of one of her rooms, straining herself very badly
by painting the ceiling with chest pains and sore arms. She thought she was
having a heart attack, but it was a false alarm, luckily. Life went on, and the
book ended. And what a good ending it is.
had finished the book I wanted to hear Nora’s favourite, Beethoven’s Archduke
Trio. I bought a CD of this, on which the Archduke is bundled with two other
pieces by Beethoven. I enjoyed them all, and especially the Archduke. Thank you
Nora (Webster) for telling me about it.
for this book is 8.5.