I have to admit I approached Kent's novel with some suspicion. How would she treat this subject, and her characters? With a superior sort of condescension, a distant "educated" view of these illiterates, grimed by endless toil? I know my sources too, and would she get the lore right? Well, here's what I learned: when hesitant, dive in! This woman is a remarkable writer, and though I've not read anything else by her I truly treasure what she has accomplished with this novel. It weaves together so many strands, and reading her you get a history, and a time all playing out before you, and like another writer I love, Emma Donoghue, Kent transported me to pre-famine Ireland in a way that was nearly total. And like the people who live close to the land, she brings us the feels, smells and sights of the changing days as the people notice and experience them. For the majority of white western culture, whose brains have been marinated in Enlightenment thinking these last centuries, world views that encompass the non-linear, or "irrational" can seem mad. Sadly the rationalist view cannot allow for the possibility of another way of knowing. Ireland and parts of Scotland may have been the last hold outs in European culture that held this view, though we see by the end of the book those ways are already straining credulity among the city dwellers. I am glad to have met the whole village she brought me, and non more than the old healer Nance Roche. Highly recommended.

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