The most pleasing thing about this readable, amusing and perceptive memoir is that O’Brien, who is clearly a scholar of literature, drama and history, weaves his erudition seamlessly into his life-affirming tale of working class life.
Ah, yes, the Irish sure do have a way with words – a very entertaining, humorous, intelligent, loving and proud memoir. More literary gold from the “Emerald Isle”.
I loved this little bit of history about a big period of sadness that happened in a proud country where people stood solid for what they believed to be right and just. A powerful story written from a heart that witnessed the country he loved torn in two.
Pick of the Week
O’Brien weaves together the many threads of history and his own life to produce an informed tale that will interest many readers well beyond the globe’s enormous Irish Diaspora.
The book will also appeal to the Irish Diaspora, as O’Brien’s memories of migration to and from England for work in the lean years of 1950s Ireland will resonate with many. As thousands continue to emigrate every week for places like Australia, O’Brien reminds us in his closing lines, ‘There are Irishmen and there are men from Ireland… I am as Ireland made me. Intentionally or not’.
Dr Sarah Campbell,
Modern Irish History
While his later life took him to Australia, this memoir stands out among those which tell a wider tale than interesting anecdotes about growing up in Dublin or other places in the “Rare Oul’ Times”. It looks into the developing mind of a young person who is not only intensely observant of the world but conscious of their class and the challenges before it, and most critically, can convey it to the reader.
O’Brien’s long held view is that it was necessary to remove the gun from Irish politics. Some years later the IRA came to the same conclusion. An erudite and entertaining read.