Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Finds: CIVIL & STRANGE: A Novel by Cláir Ní Aonghusa

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I came across this title while surfing the web -- the cover attracted me, but the description sold me!

by Cláir Ní Aonghusa

Pub. Date: March 2008
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover, 320pp
ISBN-13: 9780618829361
ISBN: 0618829369

Description (from the publisher):
Finely observed and utterly transporting, Cláir Ní Aonghusa's debut takes us inside a vibrant rural Ireland -- and three interconnected lives -- on the cusp of change.

Eager to escape her failed marriage, Ellen hopes to recapture the magic of her childhood summers when she decides to leave Dublin for the small village of Ballindoon. She is surprised when her uncle Matt, a nearby farmer, welcomes her with the rather mystifying advice to play it "civil and strange," a local expression meaning "be polite on the surface but keep your distance" -- and even more surprised to find herself attracting the attentions of a younger man. But when the two of them are spotted together and Ellen becomes the focus of her fellow villagers' gossip and judgment, Matt's words resonate in a new way. Ellen realizes how little she understands about life in Ballindoon, leading her to question not only her choices, but herself. Meanwhile, she grows closer to Matt and to his friend Beatrice, a widow still troubled by her eldest child's suicide, and begins to glimpse how the web of connection that defines village life can also be sustaining -- which frees her to take a few risks of her own. To Ellen's great wonder, as the events of this transformative, tumultuous year play out in all three of their lives, it becomes clear that even tradition-bound Ballindoon can allow for new beginnings. Anchored by the cadences of its Irish setting and the love story at its heart, Civil and Strange offers a moving exploration of the possibilities open to us, at any age, in any place, if only we are brave enough to embrace them.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the author (from the publisher):
Cláir Ní Aonghusa is an award-winning poet and short-story writer, and has twice been short-listed for the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Emerging Fiction Writer Award.


Amy said...

the cover is quite eye catching! Sounds like an interesting read.

Diane said...

Hi Gwen,

You sold me on this one with the cover alone. I love when we vacation and go places with colorful homes like this!!

Ann said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I think I will add it to my list of books to read.

Thanks for the review, without it, I probably would not have given it a second thought.

Mary said...

I knew immediately that it had to be Ireland! Sounds like a good book. NIce find.

Julie P said...

Very nice--love the cover!

Mystica said...

You've sold me but I wonder whether its available at my library.

CelticLady said...

Thanks for the heads up on this book, had to go to Amazon nad order it. Got it for 2.99 plus S&H
I am always on the lookout for any Irish authors.

Lisa said...

The cover is great! Take the cars out, throw a frame up and it would look great on your wall!

Zibilee said...

I love books about Ireland, so this one sounds great to me! Thanks for sharing this!! I am adding it to my wish list.

Wanda said...

Sounds like a great book to do some armchair travel with, hope you get a chance to read this one!