RAFFERTY & CO. by Betty Wahl


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Another amusing spectacle of idealistic, efficiency-conditioned Americans toe-stubbing their way through the cherished, hidebound inefficiency of rural ways and finally falling into step with the different drummer. This time the contest is set in Ireland, as Rafferty, his wife Alice and two little girls, arrive in the ancestral land to ""revive"" the industry of handwoven tweeds. Rafferty trails through a series of sympathetic non-producing civic officials, at last finds that his list of ""weavers"" was a handful of men who had agreed to keep pigs at one time and thought they might like to learn weaving, too. The ""mill"" building is crumbling, and Rafferty teaches himself to weave, finds that he alone seems to be carrying production. In the ancient house, Alice, served by a forbidding stove, cooks black-bottomed pies, finds help from the ""girl"" Mary, who adores the children but confronts excessively rising dough with a broom. Both Raffertys have a turn when they discover a mound of explosives marked for the Irish Republican Army. Tracking down the contact, the aging O'Connor, whom Rafferty takes rowing offshore to dump the goods, has its blessings, since somehow O'Connor filters into their lives to garden, take the children to school and start the turf fire. Bankrupt, Rafferty, with not too much regret, hires on as a weaver; Alice is resigned and a settled Irish household is in the making. The Tweed and I--broad swathe humor.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1969
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux