Sunday, June 24, 2007


One of the very few authors that I can own to having read all their work is Ian McEwan- I have been a fan of his since he first published short stories in the early 1980’s. When he brought out “Saturday”, a couple of years ago I found it was the first of his novels that I didn’t enjoy. I know a lot of people really liked his account of a day in the life of a heart surgeon, which interlaced themes of the Iraq war, family relationships and the intricacies of cardiology. I am afraid it left me cold however, so I was curious as to how I would get on with his latest offering: “On Chesil Beach” (Hardback: Jonathan Cape: 17 euro)

This is a short novel, very much in keeping stylistically with some of his earlier work such as “The Cement Garden” and “First love, last rites”. It is set in the early 1960’s and tells the story of a newly married couple who experience fear and extremes of awkwardness on their wedding night. I have read a number of reviews of this in recent weeks, (including an interesting commentary by Mary Kenny in the Indo….) where the subject matter seems to have dominated the integrity of the novel itself. Mean does tackle a subject which has been somewhat taboo- a discussion and analysis of sexual inhibitions and inadequacies, but I think he does it in a sensitive and masterful way. He depicts the two characters Edward and Florence in some detail, so that the reader gets a genuine feel for both them as individuals and their mutual attraction. I also felt the book had a lovely feel of the period, of being on the cusp of a wave of social and political change, and that this gave it depth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this short novel and found McEwan to be right back on top form. It was a tender, believable and sad description of the human condition, as only he seems to have the words to define it.

The other book I read was contrastingly quite light and humorous and would probably be a good summer read. Bella Pollen’s “Hunting Unicorns” ( Paperback: Pan: 11 euro) portrays the intriguing world of the remaining British aristocracy, as many of them struggle to maintain their large and dwindling estates. It contrasts the worlds Daniel and Rory, two sons of the aristocracy, with Maggie, a sharp and streetwise journalist who is filming a documentary on the Brits. Bella Pollen has a confident and engaging narrative style and her characters are well drawn. The story is emotional without being overly sentimental and the plot kept me going throughout. The only thing that I didn’t like about this novel was that the writer does use humour well, but she also introduced several “funny” stories ( such as the one about the dog digging up the dead rabbit), as real plot devices, which cheapened the story somewhat and were totally superfluous.

As usual, the books are available from Janet Hawkins and her team in the Blessington bookstore- they will be delighted to help you choose your holiday reads if you are overwhelmed with the choice on offer!


Hi Folks,

Just a note on the Youth Club and how things are progressing. Since moving the club to the handball alley on Friday nights due to it been more convenient for storage, the club has been running very well, we have a steady flow of members each week & all amenities are getting plenty of use!

We had a disco in April and it proved very successful and we will have more in the near future. We are planning a handball exhibition and a beauty night which will take place before the end of term. Also, we are at present planning a day trip for all the members of the Youth Club, details will be confirmed by the end of May. We hope to organise an end of summer BBQ in August before school returns.

The committee would like to thank the volunteers that have given their time & efforts in getting the Youth Club up & going. Without your help it would not be possible to run the youth club, so thank you. We have also enlisted more volunteers, their leadership training will begin in September, which when completed will total approx 20 volunteers. Thank you also to the Handball Alley Committee for allowing us the use the alley.
The Youth Club will finish Friday 1st June for the summer months. Details of the events above will be in the ball alley over the summer , so keep an eye out!

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