Country Days

Country Days

Paperback

By (author) Alice Taylor, Edited by Pete Ayrton

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  • Publisher: Brandon
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 206mm x 10mm | 160g
  • Publication date: 15 March 1998
  • Publication City/Country: Dublin
  • ISBN 10: 0863221688
  • ISBN 13: 9780863221682
  • Sales rank: 231,554

Product description

Memoir from the bestselling author of 'To School Through the Fields' who has been described by 'The Observer' as 'Ireland's Laurie Lee...a chronicler of fading village life and rural rituals who sells and sells'. In this collection she takes her readers along the byways of Ireland and into the heart of the country. In stories by turn comic and poignant, she explores the character of family and friends, testing the bonds of concern and kindness which hold people together.

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Author information

Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing. Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse. To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, launching Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty two minutes long on RTE Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTE television's Late Late Show. Since then she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday. To School Through the Fields quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland, and her sequels, Quench the Lamp, The Village, Country Days and The Night Before Christmas, were also outstandingly successful. Since their initial publication these books of memoirs have also been translated and sold internationally. In 1997 her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks. A moving story of land, love and family, it was followed by a sequel, Across the River in 2000, which was also a bestseller. One of Ireland's most popular authors, she has continued writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry since.

Editorial reviews

The continuing autobiographical chronicles of an Irish woman at midlife. Taylor's fourth volume of reminiscences (The Village, 1993; etc.) continues her series of sketches on life in a small village near Cork. With most of her children grown or in their teens, the stories now focus on Taylor herself. Each sketch is self-contained, lending a disjointed quality to the book. Tales vary from the slapstick (as she details the reburial of a stolen skull) to the sentimental (as she recounts a visit with a friend whose son has Down's syndrome). She's most enjoyable when writing about her family, whether it's a trip with her Doc Marten-wearing niece to buy suitable wedding attire or her Aunt Mary's troublesome visits. The volume opens with a childhood memory of her grandmother's corset: "as Nanna's corset hit the leg of the iron bed with a clatter of bone and steel, I wondered if she had ever been young." Her language fares better in prose than in the short poems interspersed between some of the chapters, which lack any edge at all. In the midst of Taylor's more humorous anecdotes, are a few revealing her individual quest for spirituality. A devout Catholic, she remains open to widening her religious practice, whether this involves going on an arduous retreat or to a prayer meeting. Readers may be drawn to Taylor because of her easy narrative and the glimpse she offers of Ireland. Indeed, Taylor's greatest strength is her sense of place. As she writes of her father's death, it is clear that knowing he was the seventh generation of her family to live and farm his land is of great comfort. It is common for Irish-Americans to idealize Ireland. However, as Taylor's writing illustrates, the land can indeed offer much real wisdom. Quiet, entertaining tales of special interest to readers nostalgic for a slice of Irish life. (Kirkus Reviews)