Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Solace' by Belinda McKeon

Belinda McKeon's first novel, Solace, recently won the Best Newcomer of the Year title at the 2011 Irish Book Awards. Certainly this was deserved recognition: Solace combines many virtues, including a strong narrative drive, a vivid portrait of Ireland on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger's implosion, and an impressive exploration of the varieties of parent-child relationships. Best of all, however, is McKeon's style - clean, unfussy and tender when reaching below the skin of her characters. She certainly moves over some of the ground of the late great John McGahern, but unlike some other contemporary Irish writers who have been influenced by him, she still consistently strikes her own note.

In the latter part of the book, and particularly in the story of the central character's father, Tom, there is much that is both moving and wise. Recommended.

No comments: