Dancing with Minnie the Twig Hardcover – Feb 2002
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In an affecting and accomplished debut novel, noteworthy for its unerring representation of Irish village life, Doyle joins leagues of his fellow countrymen whose lyrical prose offers a bittersweet study of those doomed to finish out their days trapped in an endless cycle of poverty, despair, and bitterness. Yet Doyle adds a fresh voice to this canon of work with his tale of young Tony Cullen, a ragamuffin who deftly characterizes his environment with a candor and charm that would be disarming in one so innocent if it weren't for the tragic circumstances that afford him his particular perspective. Tony accepts his lot with a resigned fatalism and assuages his longings with restless fantasies that provide him with the only freedom he knows. More than the lack of economic and cultural opportunities, however, Tony is burdened by that most constant mainstay of Irish fiction, a domineering and abusive father. Hampered at times by vernacular as dense as the thickest brogue, Doyle's allegory is nonetheless elegantly poignant and simplistically profound. Carol Haggas
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A remarkable first novel from Irish writer Mogue Doyle - fresh, imaginative and brimming with childhood insight. Set in rural Ireland during the 1960s, it is one boy's view of his childhood from his first memories to his early teens. The household is ruled with an iron hand by the 'old lad', his father. His long-suffering mam is the comfort pillow for little Tony, his elder brother Aidan and younger sister Cissy. His father's rages and easy temper overshadow the sensitive Tony's childhood, bringing out an anger in him that he has yet to recognise as his fathers, at the unfairness of his mam's life. His best friend, Mikey, who lives down the road, has no such problems. An angelic cherub with his dark curls, he elicits female attention from his first day at school much to the chagrin of Tony. Together they learn about life in the small village in which they live: school days, local hurling matches and general young lad's mischief. However, it is through this mischievousness that the road to tragedy is begun. Intrigued by sex and what it is, Mikey discovers the widow Rourke, a woman not averse to giving sexual favours to the men in the area. He also discovers a way of watching the proceedings from within the house itself and it is that reveals a family secret that Tony cannot hide from. From the opening chapter, set at a funeral, the novel grips the reader with its lilting, almost hypnotic, words, painting a picture of the characters and era so common at that time in the Irish countryside. A haunting tale, which will tally in the mind long after the last page has been reached, it is an extraordinary work from someone who has never written before. - Lucy WatsonSee all Product Description