The Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree

3.28 (90 ratings by Goodreads)
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On an overgrown and rundown farm in Ireland in the late 1980s widowed Minnie O'Brien (a shopkeeper's daughter in the village) remembers the past: courtship and marriage to craftsman-farmer Peter, the lover of her life, whom she met at a country fair; their wedding and Dublin honeymoon in 1922; life on the farm; the births of three children; and what became of them. Brendan goes off to be a missionary in Africa; Sheila is a nurse at Guy's hospital; Frankie seeks freedom in the Australian outback. Between the turf-cutting and roof-laying, ceilidhs and hurling matches of her early married days and the 'modern' age of mains electricity and 'airoplaines' lie well-worn footpaths of reminiscence down which Minnie rambles contentedly as she waits for her men to come more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 110 x 177 x 24mm | 208g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Orion mass market paperback
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0752826638
  • 9780752826639

About Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan very nearly died at birth from asphyxiation, but survived with severe brain damage, cut off in his own silent world, restricted by a mute and paralysed body. He wrote his first book, of poetry, in 1981, when he was 15, using a 'unicorn' on his forehead to punch the keys of a typewriter. His childhood memoirs, Under the Eye of the Clock, were published in 1987 and sshow more

Review Text

The Banyan Tree ($25.95; Mar.; 384 pp.; 1-55970-511-6): Irish writer Nolan, a lifelong quadriplegic and mute whose struggles to be a part of the life around him and express himself were recorded in his prizewinning 1978 memoir Under the Eye of the Clock, has now, after 12 quite literally painstaking years, produced this spectacularly vivid and lyrical first novel. Its subject is an elderly woman's life alone on the farm she labors to maintain after her husband has died and their adult children long since left home. Minnie Humphreys is a marvelously observed character, and the language with which Nolan records both her daily tasks and her extended flights of memories of earlier times is charged with fresh metaphors (Minnie's ``cries . . . [go] cartwheeling around the room'), ingenious usages (``Sunday' as a verb), and catapulting sensory impressions. Nolan's is essentially a sacramental view of even the humblest points at which the human, natural, and imagined worlds intersect (half-echoesprobably coincidental onesof Gerard Manley Hopkins's poems are frequently heard in his tumbling sentences), and his first fiction offers the exhilaration and instruction of viewing ``everyday' things from an utterly fresh perspective. A triumph, it goes without sayingand a work of truly individual genius. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

90 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
5 16% (14)
4 34% (31)
3 26% (23)
2 12% (11)
1 12% (11)
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