The Misremembered Man – Christina McKenna

The Misremembered Man

Set in 1970s rural Ireland, The Misremembered Man is an insightful tale of two lonely hearts looking for love.  Jamie McCloone, is 41 and a bachelor farmer, still mourning the death of his adoptive parents but his neighbours Paddy and Rose convince him that  all he needs is the love of a good woman.  Forty year old teacher Lydia Devine feels stifled looking after her cantankerous elderly mother and longs to  be happily wed.  Their courtship is filled with comic moments as Rose imparts her pearls of wisdom on love and romance to the shy and socially awkward Jamie.  However the comedy is balanced perfectly by Jamie’s memories of his traumatic upbringing in an orphanage run by the clergy.

Christina McKenna captures the lilting tones of the Irish idiom perfectly with fleshed out, realistic characters who will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.  Despite his dreadful childhood, the gentle giant, Jamie, never complains and simply wants some love and affection in his life.  On the surface, Lydia seems to come from a much more privileged background but her upbringing in a strict Presbyterian home was arid and joyless.  In today’s supposedly “sophisticated” technological age, it might be hard to imagine such a simple world where folk are rather naive and less street-wise than their modern counterparts but, coming from a rural Irish background myself, it all seems very true  to life.

A compelling, heartfelt, moving read which would make a wonderful film.

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