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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A luminous family memoir
Guinness tells the story of Tibradden, a house and farm near Dublin - how it came into her family, how she ended up living there as a girl, and later returned to live there as a young woman with her uncle Charles and her fiance. A funny, poignant memoir of a family, and sensitive portrayal of a landscape - truly excellent.
Published 19 months ago by Melissa F.

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3.0 out of 5 stars book
I expected more from this book, It was readable but did not make me want to keep reading until I had finished.
Published 5 months ago by catherine warner


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A luminous family memoir, 23 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family (Hardcover)
Guinness tells the story of Tibradden, a house and farm near Dublin - how it came into her family, how she ended up living there as a girl, and later returned to live there as a young woman with her uncle Charles and her fiance. A funny, poignant memoir of a family, and sensitive portrayal of a landscape - truly excellent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Book, 20 Dec 2012
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ACB (swansea) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family (Hardcover)
Selina Guinness has written an Irish story that revolves around an Anglo-Irish estate, a derelict site on the outskirts of Dublin earmarked for property development rather than traditional agricultural produce. The land's plans hit a nerve. Why should this be changed from it's old 'background wash and colour'? Guinness's home in Tibradden, on a 120 acre estate, exists despite a 19th century sell out; a rendition of the trials and tribulations of modern Ireland taken back through tradition and history. Decisions have to be made based on economic rather than the emotional past. This inevitably involves the longstanding farm-working Kirwan family. Emotions run high and lead to personal dilemmas. This is written by Guinness in a style of prose that is beautifully poetic at times.It is a book of depth and attachment to the period and lifestyle with attendant care for the figures that fall as victims. Excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read., 19 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.I was transported by the author, not only through her own vivid practical experiences but also through time and to current issues facing many of us on a personal level,in Ireland, Europe and the world .She exposes the fine balance of preserving of nature, ecology and 'progress' whilst trying to keep within financial limitations and personal considerations. Her prose is beautifully written and conjures up magical images of the land and characters that inhabit this world in flux.She also shows a great sense of humour and it makes the book a combined pleasure to read of struggles and of being able to see the positive side of life!I have no hesitation to recommend it to family, friends and anyone who reads this will finish the book ,moved, illuminated and uplifted!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Memoir, 28 Oct 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family (Hardcover)
Selina Guinness's memoir is named after a stuffed crocodile which sits in the hall of Tibradden, her much-loved ancestral home. In times gone by, when the house was full of family members, the crocodile was used as a rather unorthodox temporary postbox, where letters could sit unmolested by others, until the postman called with his key and took the letters away. Many years later, in 2002, Selina Guinness and her partner Colin, both young academics, move into Tibradden, a gently decaying Victorian house situated outside of Dublin, where the city meets the country, and where Selina's Uncle Charles, an ageing bachelor, is living and farming on a small scale. Having spent much of her childhood years at Tibradden, Selina grew up loving the house and the landscape, but taking over the running of the crumbling family home and coping with the livestock on the farm, proves a little more challenging than either Selina or Colin anticipated; and when her beloved uncle becomes ill and sadly dies, Selina has to deal with all of the problems that her uncle felt he could not face. Then developers come knocking on Selina's door keen to buy some of Tibradden's land for a golf course, but although Selina desperately needs the money for restoration work, she is wary of the motives of these developers and has concerns over the land being used for a large housing estate. And then there are the Kirwans, an elderly couple with a disabled son, who live in Tibradden gatehouse and who, unwittingly and very sadly, cause a whole batch of additional problems for the author.

Beautifully written with some lovely descriptive passages, this memoir was both an interesting and satisfying read. Naturally, as the farming aspect of the enterprise caused difficulties for the author, there was a fair amount of information about sheep farming and the EU's Common Agriculture Policy and so forth which, I will admit, did not fully engage my attention - especially as I was more drawn to to human aspect of the author's predicament; that said, there were some touching and very poignant passages where the author shared details of the loving, but sometimes complicated relationship she had with her uncle, and of the very sad and difficult situation she found herself in with the Kirwan family. Selina Guinnness's memoir is a moving and honest account of family love, duty, responsibility and of the fight to save her ancestral home and to preserve the landscape around it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 3 May 2014
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The story of life in Ireland and the struggle to make living in a big house viable. Funny, frustrating and true! A really good read for those who know and have some understanding of the Irish and their ways.
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3.0 out of 5 stars book, 22 Jan 2014
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I expected more from this book, It was readable but did not make me want to keep reading until I had finished.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ireland Of The Recent Past, 20 Nov 2013
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A well written piece on how Ireland should not behave in the future. The dilemma of a family when faced by greed and lies and how that is best faced up to. I hope that we will see the outcome but that could be for a time when the kids are grown up and a few bob is needed to help them face the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read., 15 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book, especially because, Murial, the housekeeper was related to me. I knew she was very happy working there, and so glad to have had an inside view of her life. I would recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A really lovely book, especially as I live near the Dublin mountains!, 2 Oct 2013
This is a beautifully written book. I loved the honesty and the realness of the characters and situation. Shows what it's like if you get what you wish for sometimes!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Irish Tale, 31 Aug 2013
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It was a gentle read and interesting to have the background of the reality of farming in an increasingly urbanised setting.
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