The Silent People (The Irish Trilogy) Paperback – 10 Jun 1988
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Written with all the power of suppressed pity and rage. (Liverpool Daily Post)
Walter Macken writes with passion . . a quite brilliant novel (Topic) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The second book in the acclaimed Irish trilogy --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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The book follows the life of Dualta Duane and opens in 1826. Dualta, orphaned when his own family died in the 1817 famine, is seventeen and lives with his Uncle Marcus. They live in small village, in the Corrib Country of County Galway. However, after Dualta topples the landlord's son from his horse in anger, the pair are forced to separate and flee. The consequences of staying would, most likely, have seen Dualta beaten to within an inch of his life and transported to Australia. Managing to escape those hunting him, Dualta is briefly sheltered by a man called Máirtin and later travels onwards with Máirtin's son, Paidi. Together, they move southwards and seek work as diggers. Dualta, promising Paidi he'll keep in touch, is hired by a man called Cuan McCarthy. His work, however, doesn't involve digging and the next time he sees Paidi the circumstances are less than happy.
As the story progresses, several further characters are introduced. The most significant, to Dualta at least, is Una - the daughter of an English landlord called Wilcocks. While her father had been a Protestant, her mother had been an Irish Catholic who converted to marry him. It would have been a very unusual marriage in those times - however, Una's mother died when she was thirteen.Read more ›
According to the cover, The Silent People is the second part of Macken's brilliant trilogy of the dark years in Irish history. Fortunately, there's nothing to stop a newcomer from joining the saga at this novel's page 1, and walk away with a feeling of completion at the close of 346.
In a shell too nutty, Macken's The Silent People follows a young Irish countryman from rural Connemara in 1826 throughout his contacts with all the major events, persons and themes of the Irish history's next twenty years. As is proper, conflict sets the pages turning. Dualta is pronounced Jewel-ta, but there's nothing feminine about the way our hero stands up for himself and unhorses the landlord's wicked, horse-whip lashing son into the deepest pile of manure on the street.
Macken is accessible. There's no subtlety encountered during the first sixty pages. Bad guys wear high-topped hunting hats, pulled low to shade all but the evil glint in their highborn eye. Action-packed good guys wear flat white caps- or, devil take 'em- are too impoverished by their oppressors to afford headgear at all. Young adult readers will have no difficulty being engaged or- this is a compliment- moved.
Upton Sinclair's The Jungle distilled exactly such injustice to become a classic. That's an exception. To its further credit, Macken's novel raises questions and not just an outcry. One of Dualta's missions, six months after joining the rebels, is complicated when the economic enemy they are burning out bravely makes a fair defense of his actions, before being whacked into unconsciousness. Huh!Read more ›