The Hurley Maker's Son
Patrick Deeley's train journey home to rural East Galway in autumn 1978 was a pilgrimage of grief: his giant of a father had been felled, the hurley-making workshop silenced.
From this moment, Patrick unfolds his childhood as a series of evocative moments, from the intricate workings of the timber workshop run by his father to the slow taking apart of an old tractor and the physical burial of a steam engine; from his mother’s steady work on an old Singer sewing machine to his father’s vertiginous quickstep on the roof of their house. There are many wonderful descriptions of the natural world and delightful cameos of characters and incidents from a not-so-long-ago country childhood.
In a style reminiscent of John McGahern’s Memoir, Deeley’s beautifully paced prose captures the rhythms, struggles and rough edges of a rural life that was already dying even as he grew. This is an enchanting, beautifully written account of family, love, loss, and the unstoppable march of time.
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