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March 25, 2019


#Ireland Emer Martin

by N@ncy

Shortlisted books:  read 3/5


  1. Magdalene laundry survivors are honoured.
  2. Atlantic, children are wrenched from their parents and put in cages.
  3. Both the laundries and the systematic practice of harvesting children
  4. to feed labour requirements of industrial schools
  5. …carried out by the “Cruelty Men” of the title.



Strong point:

  1. Honest, raw, brave look at dysfunctional Irish society 1930s-1960s.
  2. Writer is talented and knowledgeable about the effects
  3. of religious and industrial institutions on the lower class.
  4. She also blends Irish myth, folklore, and landscape
  5. …into a witches (Irish hag) brew.


Weak point:

  1. I think Emer Martin wants to squeeze
  2. so much shock and awe
  3. into the narrative to  that the
  4. pain of reading the book overwhelmed
  5. the pleasure of reading it…in my case.
  6. I had to put the book down in disbelief.


Last thoughts:

  1. Some may like this book….some may not.
  2. Martin explores difficult topics with a touch of Irish surrealism.
  3. The beginning of the book was meant to ‘hook’ me
  4. …and nudge me further  into the novel.
  5. The first chapter just baffled me.
  6. You’ve been warned.
  7. It took my unshakeable resolution to finish
  8. reading this shortlist (foto)
  9. …that prevented me from closing the book after 100 pages.
  10. Will it win Kerry Group Best Irish Novel of the year?
  11. I think that there are better books on the shortlist.
  12. I hope you take the time between now and 29 May 2019
  13. …to read the shortlist and choose your winner!
  14. Dark side…of Irish history.



Read more from fiction, Ireland
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 25 2019

    It’s such a shocking subject isn’t it? Sounds like a very worthy book but I’m not sure I’ll rush to read it.


    • Mar 25 2019

      The Magdalene laundries….heartbreaking to read
      …and this in the 20th C!
      Thanks for your comment.



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  1. #Shortlist Kerry Group Irish Novel of 2019 | NancyElin

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