I'm familiar with Niall Williams and have read most of his work so it was a delight to discover this book, written with his wife, telling of an Ireland of 30 years a go. It is the time when I first 'discovered' Ireland so brought back very happy memories.
I remember very distinctly when this book was published as I know many of the people who feature in it very well. Christine Breen and Niall Williams were my grandparents' neighbours and the subjects of much discussion, gossip and at times complete incomprehension given they moved to the West of Ireland in a decade when so many Irish people of their generation were going in the opposite direction, i.e. emigrating to New York. Many of the locals felt let down and aggrieved by their portrayal in the book, especially the reference to the stout women attending Mass as they had been such good neighbours to the Williams during their first year on the farm. They really were incompetent farmers and more than a bit naive to think they could take on as much as they did. Based on this, I think it would be interesting to know what the locals make of writers like Peter Mayles et al who move to remote rural areas in Provence, Tuscany, etc.