Country Days

Country Days

  • Hardback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • ISIS Publishing
  • ISIS Large Print Books
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Large type / large print
  • Large Print edition
  • 0753159805
  • 9780753159804

Review Text

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)show more