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When Seamus Murphy writes "I have not the slickness of the craft of writing" in the first chapter of his book "Stone Mad", it cut little ice with me, because I know from old that the Irish have that wonderful gift of the blarney that makes them natural storytellers. Ireland was one of the last strongholds for the travelling storytellers, so it is a gift rooted deeply in their DNA. I have read those little pearls of Irish literature "Twenty Years A Growin" by Maurice O'Sullivan and "The Islandman" by Thomas O'Crohan, both written in a completely natural Irish story telling style, which makes them remarkably easy to read and entertaining to boot. "Stone Mad" first written in 1966 is very much in that tradition. Seamus Murphy recalls his years working as an apprentice stonecarver, and the characters he met. The book is really all about these characters who come back to life under Murphy's pen. Characters like the Gargoyle and Danny Melt who are constantly at odds. The properties of stone are discussed and the work of long dead craftsmen. There is a surprising amount of accumulated knowledge and wisdom in the workshop, that Murphy soaks up to relate for our enjoyment. On the books cover the Irish author and playwright William Trevor describes it as "A delightful and classicly simple book", which is no blarney. Highly recommended for those that loikes a bit o the oirish.
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on 12 February 2012
i'm a banker mason of 20odd years or so and this book has made me laugh on more than 5 occasions thats out loud at work and on the train.
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