We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. In Faha, County Clare, everyone is a long story...Bedbound in her attic room beneath the falling rain, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father. To find him Ruthie must first trace the jutting jaw lines, narrow faces, and gleamy skin of the Swains from the restless Reverend Swain, her great-grandfather, to her father.
"The lure of local flavour"
We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. That’s how it seems to me, being alive for a little while, the teller and the told. So says Ruthie Swain. The bedridden daughter of a dead poet, home from college after a collapse (Something Amiss, the doctors say), she is trying to find her father through stories.
In the years following the death of Jesus Christ, John the Apostle, now a frail, blind old man, lives in forced exile on the desolate island of Patmos with a small group of his disciples. It is against this turbulent background and inspired by Jesus's radical message of love and forgiveness that John comes to dictate his Gospel.
'When I was 12 years old God spoke to my father for the first time. God didn't say much. He told my father to be a painter and left it at that.... ' So begins Niall Williams' magical tale about love and destiny. Nicholas Coughlan and Isabel Gore were made for each other - but fate doesn't always take the easiest or the most obvious route to true love. For a start, Nicholas and Isabel have never met and nor are they likely to, without some kind of divine intervention. But as God, ghosts, a series of coincidences and seemingly chance events and encounters conspire to bring the couple together.
Francis Foley is a proud, stubborn man, and cannot stand to be beholden to anyone. Quick to anger and slow to forgiveness, it is his temper that, one day, costs his sons their home -- and their mother. This will not be the last of their losses however: as the four boys and their father embark on an odyssey to find untenanted land they can call their own, their already diminished family is divided still further.
Jim Foley loves his parents, his brother, his sister, Dickens and God, although not necessarily in that order. Later, he loves Kate, enough to make her his wife; later still, he loves his children, Jack and Hannah. This is Jim's story, from early days spent in County Clare to early adulthood in America, and back to Clare again.