I picked this up because I had nothing to read for some bus journey, but then didn’t read it on that trip. I thought the name of the author was familiar, but after reading the blurb at the back figured it was simply that I had come across one of his short stories at some stage.
I was right, in the middle of the book he tells of a story he wrote that was on the Inter. cert. course, now the Jnr Cert, and I recognised it. Called The Windows of Wonder, it tells of a young teacher who arrives in a valley “that had let imagination die.” She brings back stories, but is frowned upon by the other teachers, and the principal. As she leaves she wonders has she done any good at all when an old man stops her on the side of the road, with a present for her:
“She watched the gnarled fists unlock… clinging to the coarse palms were two butterflies … carefully, he removed the butterflies from each palm … The old man tossed them into the air … at last they began to entwine their flights as they climbed higher and higher into the dark heavens.”
When I first picked the book up I thought it was an autobiography, and in a way it is. But it is really more of a meandering through the author’s life as he tells how and why he began to write and tell stories. How he became the storyman.
Finished The Storyman last night. Overall an interesting, if not always straightforward read. MacMahon skips about a bit, and often times I think it would be better to hear this book told with a Kerry accent. All in all a decent read and an interesting look back, not only at the author’s life and inspiration, but how Ireland has changed.