THE LAND OF YOUTH by Richard Power


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The Gaelic isle of Inishkeever, its traditions and its people are supposed to become a miniature epic in this story of an island daughter gone astray. Barbara returns to the island from America, lures Padraig, an acolyte, from the priesthood for her love, then runs away again. On her second return, this time from revolutionary Dublin, she is pregnant and unfit for the island mythos. But a young man loves and marries her, living a name to her son and five years of decent wedlock, until he is killed in one episode of the vendetta that grew up between Padraig, now a miserly shopkeeper, and Barbara's supporters. Her second son enters a monastery; her first son dies in the sea; and eventually Padraig leaves the world to Barbara. Her only grace is the vision she had of the mythical island in the sea -- the Land of Youth that promises a happy death. The story is thin because the background doesn't live. Neither the Gaelic warmth of the isle nor the Irish revolution come across in the telling. An unsatisfying saga.

Publisher: Dial