After seeing Belfast, I was reminded of a couple of books that I'd read about The Troubles, I remembered reading The Bird Woman by Kerry Hardy, which was particularly touching.
I reviewed it here, among several reviews in December of 2006.
Having been reminded of the book, I remembered that Hardy was a poet and ordered a book of her poetry. Evidently she wrote only the two novels, but seven collections of poetry. I ordered Where Now Begins.
Into the Light
All prayers are poems, incantations,
arising our of darkness, joy or grief--
splinters of feather and bone,
that flicker and spin and are gone,
as brief and intense as a coal-tit's fierce cling
to a coconuts strung from an ash in the rainy air.
For thirty years
we have walked around
inside each other's lives.
We pay bills, hang out the wash,
comfort children who wake.
Sometimes we bury our dead.
This is the house we inhabit,
fragile as glass,
the light passing through.
And I loved this line from Daylilies:
"filling the garden with all the wrong colours--
disordered, unruly and joyous."
I read the poems slowly over a period of days and will go back over them again and possibly, again, as is the way of reading poetry. Hardie is a wonderfully lyric poet who is immersed in her Irish roots, nature, life, grief, and imagery.
Poetry. Nov. 12, 2020.
Some other good books about Northern Ireland and The Troubles:
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
Shadows on Our Skin by Jennifer Johnston
Set in 1900 London, M.J. Trow uses the University College of London (UCL) as a fitting backdrop for Dr. Margaret Murray, professor of archaeology.
A young constable who has attended Margaret's free public lectures on Fridays recognizes the body a young woman in a rented room. She, too, had been attending the free Friday archaeology lectures, but Alice Groves/Helen Richardson had been living a double life.
Constable Adam Crawford is not pleased that his superior has decided immediately that the death is a suicide, eager to write off the death of a young prostitute as of no concern.
Margaret Murray, on hearing Crawford's doubts, determines to find out more. She eventually meets retired Detective Reid, who has a formidable reputation with Scotland Yard, and the two try to uncover what Helen and another young woman seeking a degree in archaeology and whose body Reid inadvertently discovers on a beach in Kent, had in common.
I enjoyed this one, maybe not quite a believable murder mystery, but interesting characters and rather fun.
Historical Mystery. Nov. 25, 2022. Print length: 224 pages.
“I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them.”—Ray Bradbury