The Memory Stones by Kate O'Riordan was a Charity Shop Gift from my daughter who often looks out for books I may like to read.
The story tells of Nell, a 46 year old woman who left Ireland pregnant at the age of 16 and never returned. It is a poignant tale of the relationships between mothers and daughters, their hardships and tragic life events.
Nell returns to Ireland when she receives news that her daughter (who has a 7 year old daughter)is experiencing problems and Nell realises she must make the journey she has avoided for over thirty years.
In a book which explores the mother/daughter relationships of four generations (um, let's see, that's three sets of mothers and daughters), it is perhaps inevitable that this book can become tiring when read from a man's perspective. Without some form of natural feminine empathy, I found myself just wanting to pick up the characters, pinning their arms by their sides, and shaking them, firmly telling them to just stop tippy-toeing around and GET ON WITH IT! Huge amounts of angst. Still, it is well written, with the jumps in timeline from past to present handled skillfully and interestingly. Nell, the main character, is likeable - most of the others are not. Enjoable and evocative descriptions of west coast rural Ireland. Frustrating because I'm not sure I have any better understanding of the mother/daughter psyche.
A beautiful book, with enough twists, turns to keep you guessing all the way through, capably and clearly covering the lives of four generations of women, and moving at just the right pace through heartache and suspense towards resolution and redemption. Wonderfully descriptive writing, a meditation on memory and motherhood.