Writing About Adoption

An Affair With my Mother by Caitriona Palmer (Memoir) A Second Life by Dermot Bolger (Fiction) I wanted to read these books when the opportunity came, in order to see if my treatment of the subject in Honest Hearts and Transgression was authentic. Both books deal with adoption as experienced in Ireland in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. This was a period during which any young Irish woman who conceived out of wedlock was regarded as a pariah. Her child was taken from her and provided with a good, usually middle class, home. The mother would be ostracised by her … Continue reading Writing About Adoption

Meditations on Mortality

People talk a lot about “bucket lists”: the things you’d like to see and do before you die. Too often these take on a selfish tone with a desire to see some of the wonders of the world. Kalanithi’s book reminds us that it is what we leave behind us that is most important; what we’ve achieved, not where we have been or what we have seen Continue reading Meditations on Mortality

Inconceivable Realities: Writing of Past Horrors

Horror is a popular genre. Fantasies involving zombies, mummies or vampires are as widely read today as they ever were in the past. But history is filled with real horrors. Which raises the question: is it ever possible for a novel to do justice to real life horrors such as The Great Irish Famine? Part of my research for my novel set in the period of the Irish famine of 1845-51 has consisted of reading a massive volume entitled Atlas Of The Great Irish Famine. Produced in 2012 by Cork University Press, it is a monumental work, consisting of a … Continue reading Inconceivable Realities: Writing of Past Horrors

Terror and Liberalism: a book review

A few days ago one of my Facebook friends shared a meme that listed all the towns and cities in Britain that have Muslim mayors. The clear message was that this is a trend that ought to worry us. I thought of that message whilst reading Paul Berman’s 2004 polemic Terror and Liberalism. He has a lot to say about the complacency of Liberals and their failure to recognise the true nature of past manifestations of totalitarianism. It is, he acknowledges, easy, perhaps too easy, to attribute the actions of Islamist terrorists to some rational cause. A reaction, perhaps, to … Continue reading Terror and Liberalism: a book review

The Ultimate Tribute

If you are a true fan of an iconic band you probably take a dim view of any outfit purporting to be a ‘tribute band’, deeming them to be a pale imitation of the original. If you are a fan of The Eagles or of Fleetwood Mac then you would be surprised and delighted by the quality of the show presented by an Irish band called The Illegals. I saw them for the second time last night and was blown away by the three hours of musical magic they provided for a packed audience in our local theatre. The band … Continue reading The Ultimate Tribute

Home – what does it mean to you?

This post was suggested by The Writing Reader’s prompt #1753, the first line of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Last night I dreamed I was back in Urishay, a small community of farms and cottages in the hills above the Golden Valley, close to the Black Mountains that mark the border between England and Wales. I was a babe in arms when I first arrived there with my mother and grandmother. It was to be my home for the next 14 years. Our cottage had thick walls of local stone. A stream ran in a deep ravine with two waterfalls behind … Continue reading Home – what does it mean to you?

More praise from an established author

Re-blogged from Jennifer Young’s author page “Frank Parker, I salute you. You’re an extraordinarily versatile writer.” http://jenniferyoungauthor.blogspot.ie/2016/01/book-chat-versatility-in-genre.html?showComment=1452169244185#c2115513123389332777 The author of several romance novels and the intriguing “Looking for Charlotte” has posted about two of my books. I feel quite flattered by her generous praise. Continue reading More praise from an established author

Car Crashes and Shoot-outs

You won’t find them in my novel Transgression. Which probably explains why one reviewer said it was boring and went on to claim that there was “not a lot going on.” There are two deaths from natural causes, a couple of suicides, a rape, the sexual abuse of a minor by a radio DJ, people-trafficking for underage sex and a middle aged married couple who make love in a Welsh woodland whilst on holiday. All pretty ordinary run of the mill stuff – certainly no exhilarating car chases or terrifying shoot-outs. I know it shouldn’t, but that comment, my first … Continue reading Car Crashes and Shoot-outs

A Baker’s Dozen of Great Stories

Quintet: Five Tales With a Twist by Jennifer Young If there is a common thread linking these five stories it is that each involves a central character unable to let go of the past. The Homecoming sees a young man returning to the family home a few years after the end of World War One. A touching exploration of guilt, cowardice and sibling rivalry in a wealthy Scottish family. Pandora’s Box features a woman who is afraid to move on from a failed relationship – until she is reminded that what was left when Pandora opened her mythical box. In … Continue reading A Baker’s Dozen of Great Stories

Will this book change anything?

This is a short post to draw attention to my review of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, which I just posted on Goodreads. As a taster, here are a couple of quotations from the review: Branson’s greenwashing is accompanied by the rapid expansion of his fuel guzzling transport empire [the] Irish rural population is yet another manifestation of Blockadia You can read the whole review here. Better still, read the book and decide for yourself if the change it advocates is something you want, or if you are happy to continue living in fear of the alternative. Continue reading Will this book change anything?