THE TWELFTH DAY OF JULY by Joan Lingard

THE TWELFTH DAY OF JULY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though its hard at this point to take the troubles in Belfast so lightly or to accept Joan Lingard's happy ending, her brisk drama of youthful Catholic-Protestant street scrapping gives American readers an inside view of the conflict from both sides of the dividing ""main road."" The grim foreign setting is concrete and unmistakable yet the thrills of beleaguered amity and militant enmity, the almost wartime excitement that builds up as King Billy's Day approaches, are as familiar as the cokes and jeans that are mentioned in passing along with chips and queues and bob-a-job errands. Among the children involved in mutual baiting, the territorial spirit burns most imperatively in Sadie Jackson, a Prod and ""holy terror"" who plans to march as drum majorette in the Orangemen's parade, and in Catholic Kevin McCoy whose ""act of provocation"" (slapping green paint over King Billy's picture on the Jacksons' wall) sets off a series of retaliatory invasions of each other's neighborhoods and homes. The raids and insults culminate on the eve of the Twelfth in a rock-throwing battle and in a near-fatal injury to Kevin's pacifist sister Brede; it is Brede's narrow escape that brings the Jackson and McCoy children suddenly and improbably together -- but as a real life solution is not in sight you can hardly blame the author for her unconvincing ending.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Nelson