Friday, October 30, 2009


I revisited an author from years ago this month – I had read “Bel Canto”, which is wonderful novel and I was loaned “Run” by Ann Patchett (Paperback: Harper Perennial: 10.50 euro) by my friend Anne, who is also a big fan of hers.

“Run” has a beautifully simple title, with lots of different meanings that unfold as the novel progresses. It tells the story of the Doyle family, and has interesting Irish, catholic overtones, starting as it does with the story of the beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary, passed down through generations of the Doyles. The story is immediately tinged with sadness and loss and this poignancy comes and goes throughout the book with great delicacy. The Doyle family have lost their mother Bernadette, and she has left not just her husband and son behind, but also her two adopted black sons, and the novel really focuses on the elder of these two, Tip.

The strangely melded Doyle family are interesting in a psychological way, and added into the mix suddenly comes a new little stranger- eleven year old Kenya, whose passion is for running, and around whom the whole family come to pivot. Ultimately the novel turns upon the independent minded Tip, a very sympathetic and absorbing character who in his quest to find his own path probably reminds us all of the conflicts that exist in all families. Politics pervade the story too, but what I liked is the depiction of class and also what it means to have a home and a family, albeit imperfect ones. Highly recommended.

Another very different and quirky book I dipped into this month was “The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments” by George Johnson ( Paperback: Vintage: 10.85) Johnson takes us through a series of world altering scientific breakthroughs, such as Galileo’s work on motion and Ivan Pavlov’s seminal research with his now famous dogs.

I (unfortunately) do not have a particularly scientific mind, but this book tells the stories behind the science and the experiments themselves and hence the reader can really get a good feel for the man and his work, which I loved. It’s a thought provoking and educational little book- probably a good one to take on holidays for both the scientific and not so scientific minded!

Enjoy your holiday reading, whether its fun, frothy or serious……

Merlin comes to Russborough…..

Following on the heels of last year’s successful production of King Arthur, the touring theatre company were back in action early in July with their sequel….”Merlin”. Adapted from Thomas Malory’s original, episodes of the story of the search for the Holy Grail were faithfully re-enacted in a way that engaged the younger members of the audience perfectly. The atmosphere at Russborough was lovely that day, as the farmer’s market was on and there was lovely food and a great buzz about….The actors deserved a medal for bravery this time around as the weather was far from clement, yet they persevered through the heavy showers and the audience huddled under umbrellas or tarpaulins! We even had time for a run around the maze before we left, and before the show had walked the dog around the grounds, so it really is a great family day out.
Look out for Moya Brennan appearing in the saloon on September 5th- it should be a special concert….


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