Books for St. Patrick's Day season
"Do I Love You"
By Paul McDonald
Not a lot of people know this, but in the 60s Northern Ireland had a surprisingly dedicated soul music appreciation club. They really liked to dance too, inventing a dedicated white person’s take on an original — the “very athletic” style of Northern Irish soul dancing.
In Paul McDonald’s new novel we meet the half psychotic Trebbo and his oldest swinger in town dad Minty. When Minty hears Frank Wilson’s soul classic “Do I Love You?” on a TV ad he bursts into a dance that eventually lands him in hospital.
In his pointless quest for his vanished youth, Minty, undaunted by his fall, begins to reassemble all his old soul friends for one big all-nighter. Music, dancing and drugs are on the menu as he tries (and fails) to recreate his glory days.
McDonald’s book is written in the chatty, stream of consciousness that comes straight from its characters’ occasionally addled heads.
Behind Trebbo and Minty’s daily grandstanding lurks poor Hazel, Minty’s long-suffering wife. Exhausted by her son’s cynicism and her husband’s non-stop mishaps, she starts seeking comfort in her own obsessions and the new man who has come into her life.
While middle aged Minty pursues his youthful dreams he forgets to notice that his wife is moving on, and his son’s rebellions are getting more and more out of hand.
McDonald’s third novel is part fable, part slice of life, and his prose is as vivid and mercurial as the adventure he sets out on.
The Civil War in Kerry
By Tom Doyle
Kerry was the scene of some of the most tragic, bloody and protracted fighting during the Irish Civil War. When the free state troops landed dramatically by sea, taking the anti-treaty forces by surprise, the initial fighting was intense.
But that initial confrontation gave way to a prolonged period of guerilla conflict, and the back and forth scarred the lives of both sides.
In his new book, Tom Doyle, a native of Kerry, creates an at all times insightful picture of the conflict and its principle players. In lively and accessible prose Doyle explores their motivations, the challenges they faced and also their deep similarities, drawing a vivid picture of Ireland during this painful period.
By following the political events that led to the general election of 1923, when a degree of normality returned, Doyle’s book examines how the locals in Kerry viewed the conflict, and how that tragic rupture shaped the future politics of Ireland for decades to come.