The author identifies passages in Beckett's work and the actual Irish locations, and in the process illuminates the Nobel prizewinner's work in a very special way. With the help of 300 photos, maps and drawings, the influence of place, people and patria on the playwright is shown in an intelligent manner. This is a travel book, a bio, a literary history and a labor of love. The author has trod the back lanes of Ireland, done yeoman research and been a bulldog for tenacity. It all shows. Beckett's childhood and early years are given flesh and blood; no longer disembodied, they touch us deeply. Critical concentration on Beckett's inner life jettisoned all reality and went too far, but O'Brien's work reminds us of the bone and fiber in Beckett's writing. He has done a flawless job matching place with excerpt and is certainly no slouch in providing a brisk and informative narrative as well. His approach is also refreshingly modest; he is interested in the work, not in empire-building. Beckett will have a fitting tribute when this book is published on his 80th birthday. It won't be a surprise, though, since he has given it his blessing. The best thing about this concordance is that it will send readers scurrying back to the plays, more eager than ever to see what this Irishman who wrote in French was all about. This is a must for fans. They will feel as if they are reading a detective story as O'Brien leads them to surprise after surprise. The many excerpts will encourage a long look at the reclusive Beckett. Lyrical, shrewd and painstaking--this is a real treat.