Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Yellow House: A Novel

By: Patricia Falvey
published by: Irish Books LC 2006

    In my last entry I told you that I had started reading this book.  The great thing was that I put it on my Droid phone so I could read it whenever I was waiting in line, while Jeff filled the car with gas or while lying in bed, flat on my back.
As a disclaimer, I must tell you that I like history and I like reading about Ireland so The Yellow House already had a couple points in its favor.
    Very little of the book actually takes part in the yellow house that gives us the book's title. More than an actual place, the yellow house serves as a memory and a goal for the novel's main character, Eileen O'Neill,  inheritor of the tragic O'Neill history. Eileen sees herself as responsible for bringing honor to her O'Neill ancestors by bringing her family up out of tragedy.
    The Yellow House: A Novel is true to the larger Irish story, full of tragic disaster, passionate love and joyous music. Through it all we learn about County Ulster in Northern Ireland, first, as part of a united Ireland under British rule then as a central point for the violence of The Troubles as Catholic Irish people sought Home Rule and independence from Great Britain.
    Eileen loses her family to death, madness and dispersion. As she fights alongside her countrymen to win back the things she loves along with rejoining the character that defines her, she faces love and passion (not necessarily together) discrimination, hard work and true friendship. Through it all,  Eileen never let go of the music that is within her and ties her to her father and all the O'Neills that came before.
     I urge others to read The Yellow House: A Novel and to read it with a backdrop of Irish music to help set the mood for it seems that whatever the Irish do and wherever their descendants go, their music travels with them.
   As a follow-up I will soon read The Linen Queen also by Patricia Falvey for a more in-depth look into Protestant-Catholic relationships and a look at a predominant industry of the early twentieth Century in Northern Ireland, starting in 1913.



Rose said...

I read this....it was okay for me. But I have been in a strange mood, and I think at another time in my life I would not have wanted to put it down.

Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks for your comment, Rose. I think where we are "right now" does much to determine how we feel about any piece of art, whether it is prose, poetry or a painting. Right now, I tend to like any Irish history.