Rich Rennicks blogs at the popular expat blog A Trip to Ireland, and kindly reviewed White Feathers in his latest entry. It’s a wonderful review and so cheering to read, very thorough (a lot of plot and story discussion, just a heads-up for those who have not read the book yet), and really examines the Irish angle, which for me tends to lurk at the back of everything when I write, rather than explicitly in the foreground. White Feathers is definitely not the typical Irish Novel, being about ninety years too early for Celtic Tiger angst and having no scenes set in Ireland, but the social tensions are there – as this paragraph of Rich’s review makes clear.
The atmosphere of deep concern for what others think, and suffocating conformity should be of great familiarity anyone who grew up in Ireland or particularly among Irish expat communities overseas. Even when Eva thinks she’s escaped her family by serving in France as a nurse, she discovers a cousin of her unloved husband [SL – actually of her unloved chaperone, but they’re both Irish anyway], who attempts to monitor and control her behavior, lest she bring shame on the family, and who keeps the family members back in Ireland and London informed of her behavior. It’s an accurate portrait of the worst of Irish clannishness and suspicion of outsiders and difference, an aspect that although younger generations appear to be shedding, remains all too near the surface. (Just look at the vitriol being slung right now over the marriage referendum.)
And he kindly adds near the end: “Lanigan writes very cinematically, which is to say that she excels at painting pictures of the action and cuts between visual images rather like a film director.” as well as proposing Miranda Hart’s voice as the right one for Sybil’s dialogue. I am going to have to re-read one of those scenes now and hear it in my head 🙂
Thank you Rich for a great review, most kind of you. Check out Rich’s blog here, especially if you are interested in all things Irish from abroad, or want to read more great reviews!