A famous Irish playwright looks back at his early formative years, in Dublin, during the colorful period of Parnell. Johnny Casside's childhood was a tragic one, cut off first by the loss of his father, then by an acute eye infection, which doubtless helped stimulate his imagination and creative faculties. Years of poverty and malnutrition, conflicts between doctor and rector over his schooling, the struggle in school to keep pace with other boys, in spite of bandaged eyes, reprieve, when his mother finally sided with the doctor and removed him. Alternating with his harrowing personal experiences are descriptions of the times, -- processions, a Castle ball, a wake -- all done in lyrical, extravagantly Joycian manner, stream of consciousness style, plus the Rabelasian vernacular of the period. An unusual book, a blend of comedy and tragedy, very Irish in its sensitivity, its rhymes of thought and word. The book concerns itself only with those years of his childhood -- revealing the background against which his plays are drawn. Not a book for everyone -- but those who like Irish setting and Irish way of thought and expression will appreciate it.