Troubles

I’m not so bloody minded as to only read books with one word titles just so I can keep my blog tidy. After Jilly Cooper’s Cock! (abandoned page 238) and Wilkie Collins’ Basil (should have abandoned page 1) I couldn’t be blamed for moving away from the genre but I’m now reading Troubles by J.G. Farrell.

Reading it is tinged with sadness in the knowledge that Farrell died in 1979 aged 44 in a fishing accident mere months after moving from London to his beloved County Cork. Troubles received a new lease of life last year when it won the Lost Man Booker Prize awarded to honour the “missing” Booker Prize of 1970.

Set in Ireland in 1919 it tells the story of Major Brendan Archer who on returning from the Great War visits his fiancée whose Anglo-Irish aristocratic family own the once grand & now dilapidated Majestic Hotel. In the background are the beginnings of the Irish War of Independence and although initially the Major is blissfully unaware of what is going on there is very soon no avoiding what is happening outside the walls of the hotel.

The decaying Majestic itself is a rather obvious symbol of British rule in Ireland but otherwise this is a novel full of subtleties & gentleness. A joy to read.

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