beautiful writing & a couple great stories
Mr. Byrne is in a class by himself when it comes to description. I can see the purple heather and the sally on Spanish Man's Rest perfectly. The essence of Irishness is caught in the structure of the text and the activities of the characters. There are several stories here, mainly about the same characters at different stages of their lives. One or two stories are only a couple of pages long and are so-so. The rest are all very good. The Tale of James Carabine is set in New York. It doesn't have the magic the rest do. Kerry and Uncle Valentine and Aunt Jenepher are respectable characters. Byrne cleverly uses Kerry to say Valentine has passed on in the Tale of Kerry. The whole thought of a gypsy wagon rolling down the hill with a dead woman on board to witness her horse win is shamefully funny. That dealt with a rule my mother didn't even know. When writing about Eire and all its magic, Mr. Byrne is tough to beat.