Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ireland, Part 1

Frank Delaney

 Sometimes, a book just fits like a glove. A soft, kid glove. Such was Ireland.

My first introduction to this wonderful book was last summer while actually traveling in Ireland. We had crossed the St. George's Channel and were traveling from Waterford to Killarney. Our tour guide mentioned that she was reading this book and how good it was. Several of us looked in various shops in Ireland for it, but, oddly, it wasn't to be found.
About Christmas, I thought about it again, and ordered it to read sometime after the first of the year. It went to my nightstand in the to-be-read-soon stack with no firm time.

My second brush with Ireland was after dear friend Carol posted a quote from the book. *She* was reading it. I've always been amazed at our trans-continental synchrotism. When she posted that the "great battered boots" had been polished to a shine and were now "ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven," I feel in love with the language with which Frank Delaney would charm me. The book moved up to the "read next" slot then.

As my habit has been for years, I kept track of unknown or unfamiliar vocabulary and phrases that sing to me. I probably missed noting some vocabulary while I was swooned by Delaney use of similar, metaphor and lyrical language.

In this first part of my remembrance of Ireland, see if you aren't serenaded with these phrases. Maybe some of the words I found new, you will too. 

My first sigh of language love came on page 11: 
". . . you see a shining river that looks like the spoor of a snail . . ."    
Now in the high places of Ireland, as in Switzerland and Austria, you will look up to see a gleaming ribbon in the distance running down the mountain.  A spoor is a track or trail left by an animal, as a snail or slug leaves a slimy, glistening streak. Yes! It really does look like that!

And rictus means a gaping grin or grimmace as in "a rictus of anger."

Then I learned that "Mac" as in MacDonald means son of and "O" as in O'Reilly means family of.

Somewhere in the first quarter of the book, Delaney writes "music of the words" referring to the Storyteller. But Delaney actually gives his words music. For example, he uses the word mellifluous which means sweet-sounding, just like the word sounds to my ear, whose root "flu" comes from the Latin word "to flow" as a river.

"Our names are often all we own, if we can be said to own our names."

And finally, something for me personally:  " .  .   such conflicted feelings -- the loneliness of a receding past and the excitement of a new life ahead."

~ ~  Until the next part ~ ~

1 comment:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Checked it on Amazon and found the Kindle version is just $1.99. I can see reading this on my Kindle on a lazy summer day! :)