A WRITER'S IRELAND by William Trevor

A WRITER'S IRELAND

Landscape In Literature

KIRKUS REVIEW

An attractively illustrated coffee-table doodad, billed by novelist Trevor as "a writer's journey, a tour of places which other writers have felt affection for also, or have known excitement or alarm in"--but mostly a string of excerpts from Irish literature, from the Tain to the present, having vaguely to do with the landscape. The chronological presentation seems a fundamental mistake, since it suggests the very sort of academic investigation Trevor disclaims as an objective; only in the final chapter--a whirlwind clockwise tour around the island--does the organizational premise work. Many of the literary references are predictable: Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village"; Allingham's "The Winding Banks of Erne"; Yeats on Coole Park; Synge on Wicklow and the Aran Islands; O'Sullivan on the Blaskets; Joyce and O'Casey, from their different vantage points, on Dublin; MacNeice on Belfast. But Trevor covers some other, more overlooked bases as well: Jonathan Swift and the 18th-century garden; the S. C. Halls' early Victorian "picturesque" travel book about Ireland; John Banim; the "vastly" overlooked short stories of George Moore (though, oddly, Trevor includes no excerpts from Moore's The Untilled Field); Ulster novelist Forrest Reid. Some writers appear awkwardly fitted into the "landscape" category (Flann O'Brien's inclusion on the ground that his Dublin was "a playground for the imagination" seems a bit thin); and Trevor's virtual exclusion of excerpts from the original work of contemporary writers impoverishes the book by the omission of (for example) Seamus Heaney. Some fine raw material--seemingly thrown together.
Pub Date: March 17th, 1984
ISBN: 0500013225
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1984




MORE BY WILLIAM TREVOR

FictionSELECTED STORIES by William Trevor
by William Trevor
FictionLOVE AND SUMMER by William Trevor
by William Trevor
FictionCHEATING AT CANASTA by William Trevor
by William Trevor