- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Woodbrook Paperback – 17 Feb 1994
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
"A brilliantly original mix of love-story, memoir and history" (Brian Moore)
"It remains with one long after the story is told, a haunting sadness, a memory and a dream" (Olivia Manning Spectator)
'Woodbrook is simply one of the most enchanting books I've read in a long time - it begins in delight before it ends in wisdom' - Seamus HeaneySee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top Customer Reviews
Irish history is mostly a partisan and ugly affair, but it comes here in small bites with no flag-waving or false glorification, which are nonetheless shocking and revealing. Interspersed are details of daily live in the house and its surrounds - tiny dramas far from the 1930's world of encroaching war.
Long before the end the author is overpowered by his emotions for it all - the countryside, the lives of the people in the house and around it, and in particular the eldest daughter, Phoebe. As she is only 13 to 14 years old at the time their liaison was naturally frowned upon, but the author would have us believe both parties shared an innocence as well as feelings. And I tend to believe him as in all else he writes with such frankness and self-effacement, which is a big part of the book's appeal.
Is it the effect of youth?... life at Woodbrook is magically portrayed as timeless, and then suddenly it is out of time and crumbling. A time so close to our own time, and now gone from our reach.
Moving. Intelligent. It is all these things and more. Marvellous!
He skillfully intertwines the past and present and brings even the most uninformed up to speed regarding Irish History.
It is a beautiful read - read it and keep it for your children.
Stays with you long after finishing it.
It's set in the 30's and 40's in Co. Roscommon, in the rural west of Ireland. The locale is Woodbrook, a house and farm located between Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon. The house is occupied by the Kirkwoods, a declining Anglo-Irish family, once wealthy and powerful, now living in a poorly maintained house and chased by creditors. Other characters in the book are the neighbouring local Irish, who work on the farm.
The book is about loss; firstly, the doomed platonic love affair beteeen the author (in his teens and twenties) and Phoebe, his student, who is 7 years younger, and secondly, the inevitable decay of the house and lands.
The book was written 30 years after the event and so is somewhat rose-tinted. The author admitted that he burned his notebooks in Woodbrook in a fit of jealousy, when Phoebe went off with a friend of the author, and so he had to rely on memory when writing the book. Naturally, as he admits, many of the un-pleasant aspects were forgotten.
The book reminded me, in parts, of McEwan's "Atonement" and somewhat less of Sebald's " Austerlitz" but I think "Woodbrook" was superior.
The book gives one insight of how the Anglo-Irish families lived between the two world wars.
The cover blurb promised intrigue: an 18 year-old live-in private tutor strikes up a relationship with Phoebe his eleven-year-old pupil, and a loving bond grows between them.
But for me, there were too many distracting deviations relating to Irish history and to seemingly inconsequential other family members. Only when the social customs impinged directly upon the author did the story become absorbing. Until the final two chapters we were never allowed to glimpse the tender moments hinted at in the advertised description.
Being based on a real-life experience I guess too much truth may have resulted in indelible incrimination for the author, who was later to become an award-winning writer for one of his subsequent publications.
Other comparable novels consider similar age-divergent relationships more explicitly. Compared with the five-star Sudie, Tideland, The Belvedere Field (Vanguard), or Still She Haunts Me, I can only award this three stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good informative read, a book I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend.Published 23 months ago by B. Cassells
A completely enchanting book which sent me off into other directions of Irish history and culture. Anyone who loves this corner of Ireland will find it a joy.Published on 12 April 2015 by Mrs Margaret Ravey
This book was a poor publication; the quality of the printing was very uneven making the book unreadable.Published on 3 Sept. 2014 by Florence Gray
The book was recommended to me by someone who was researching some of our ancestors from Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Read morePublished on 5 Mar. 2014 by Michael Fraser-Allen