BLOOMSBURY £14.99 (233PP) £13.49 (FREE P&P) FROM 0870 079 8897
Once Upon A Hill, by Glenn Patterson
Echoes of a love across Ireland's frontiers
Friday 19 September 2008
Nineteen-twenty was an eventful year in the history of Ireland, of Northern Ireland, and of the town of Lisburn. In August occurred the shooting of District Inspector Swanzy, transferred from Cork following his involvement in the murder of that city's republican mayor. Vengeance caught up with him outside Lisburn Cathedral. What followed points up the deadly cycle of reprisal in Ireland, as Lisburn fell victim to mob violence and aggression. Catholic homes and businesses were burnt and looted, and its Catholics fled.
These circumstances are at the centre of Glenn Patterson's narrative. Part memoir, part family history, part idiosyncratic commentary, Once Upon a Hill proceeds in its quirky way, intrepid and compelling. In 1920, Patterson's grandparents, Lisburn born and bred, were at opposite extremes. We're invited to envisage Kate, or Catherine, Logue, with her widowed mother and five-year-old daughter, crouching in terror, perhaps in a neighbour's cellar, while sectarian fury ran its course above her head. Patterson would like to believe his grandfather Jack acted not ignobly; that his concern was his daughter's safety. But he can't be sure.
As with all families, any ancestral shortcomings are apt to be kept under wraps. In 1920, Kate and Jack Patterson were not yet married, due to Jack's formidable mother. Her ideas of social betterment precluded embracing as daughter-in-law a mill-girl and a Catholic. The couple had to wait for Eleanor's death in 1925 before tying the knot.
One of Patterson's aims is to juggle with family myths and facts, finding connections in the plots of different lives. This wonderful, humane and illuminating book comes with copious footnotes, as the author's surplus exuberance spills over into them. It ends with Patterson and his infant daughters in Lisburn's Wallace Park, attempting to locate a famous "lost echo" – thereby encapsulating the story's overriding theme.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, TV review: The affable Englishman routine is wearing a bit thin
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew