Born in India, raised in Co. Kildare and educated in Dublin and London - for decades poet and author Leland Bardwell's life was relentlessly in motion. Anglo-Irish gentry, but alienated from her glamorous sister Paloma, as well as her distant father and her rage-oholic mother, Bardwell finally does what generations of cultivated Protestant toffs did before her. She takes exile in the local fields, wandering about aimlessly, smoking Woodbines and befriending the servants and brawny farmhands. Becoming pregnant, she goes to London where her son is born and quickly given up for adoption. It's the Second World War and she's beginning to write. Soon the bohemian life of Dublin beckons and she befriends poet Patrick Kavanagh and the fellow denizens of McDaid's pub in Dublin. Bardwell's memoir devotes short chapters to the details of an affair, a relationship or a discovery, but the episodic structure prevents full disclosure. What is concealed is as interesting as what is revealed. Liberties, $29.95.

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