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Vintage, 2001 - Blind - 332 pages
2 Reviews
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While held hostage by fundamentalist Shi'ite militiamen in the suburbs of Beirut, Brian Keenan was visited and sustained by the presence of Turlough O'Carolan - the legendary blind Irish harper of the seventeenth century. This novel is thus a re-creation of an extraordinary historical story and a persona; debt repaid. It is also, obliquely, a parallel life - another life imprisoned, shaped by the dark.Narrated largely by O'Carolan from his death-bed, and throught the recollections of those closest to him, TURLOUGH powerfull brings to life a lost Ireland of famine and disease, eviction and opression, Stalking through the broken and dispossessed comes Turlough O'Carolan, the musical prodigy, blinded by smallpox and now an itinerant harper, lauded by the aristocracy and a her to his people. His Rabelaisian desire for drink and women is counterpointed by his artistic struggle towards the great music and some kind of inner peace. Driven by demons and dreams, riven by contradictions, Turlough emerges as a great man, full of frailty- a blind man afraid of the dark.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Booksloth - LibraryThing

The year is 1738 and Ireland's greatest bard, Turlough O'Carolan, lies dying at the home of his long-term patron. This is a fictional account of Carolan's life, told through the memories of those who ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - torontolibrarian - LibraryThing

Fascinating account of the life of blind Irish harper and song writer Turlough Carolan. Imagines a musician inspired by his life experience and spiritual ancestors. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Brian Keenan was born in Belfast in 1950." An Evil Cradling," his account of being held hostage for four and a half years, was published in 1992.

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