Reviews of my favorite books written by expatriates, journalists, and diplomats on what it's really like to live abroad

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Book Review: O Come Ye Back to Ireland by Niall Williams and Christine Breen

I can't imagine how they stayed. No, really. When the Niall and Christine abandoned their just-taking-off publishing careers in New York City to move to a small family farm in County Clare, they were as hard-working and positive thinking as you can possibly be. There they were, living their dream, and it mainly turned out to be as dreary and dreadful as life could be.

The darling old cottage was dirt-floored and drafty, and they didn't have enough stored turf to burn to keep it warm. Their crop was threatened by blight. The potential pool of local friends were nearly all senior citizens or close to it. They learned they could not have children naturally. They desperately missed basics such as orange juice, doughnuts and a fat Sunday paper. It rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. Then it rained some more.

But, despite everything, they stuck it out. They learned to cut turf, plant a garden, own chickens and cows. They started a local exercise class, put on a play, learned to paint, finished novels... Life, despite everything, got better.

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