Friday, 25 April 2014

LETTER from PARIS, book review!

LETTER from PARIS is the second novel from Thérèse! I had the great pleasure of first meeting Thérèse two years ago, whilst she was visiting Derry. At this time her first novel India's Summer had just been published. India's Summer told the story of India Butler and her visit to her sister in LA. The novel was a story of self discovery and exploration for India and was in many ways a self-help guide for many women. I enjoyed the read tremendously and fell in love with India. I've been waiting ever since to see just where India has found herself in the interim. I've now found my answers!
'LETTER from PARIS is the continuation of India's story and takes us to London, Paris and New York. The story tells us how a trip to Paris for India threatens to derail her - or make things all they are supposed to be. With a new job, a new friend, a potential new lover...and an old lover, India is dealing with nearly as much as she can handle. But that's only the beginning!'
India's new job takes her to a whole new world. Primarily that world is in Paris. Here she meets some new people who will change her life forever. A new journey, both personal and professional, begins! The journey India embarks upon will showcase love, friendship, homosexuality, childbirth, post natal depression and much self discovery.
The characters all develop throughout the story and India grows in so many ways. She finds herself and realises just how to discover ones true self worth. Life lessons are continually under scrutiny and learned the hard way, but  captured in a very real light.
This novel is yet again one of discovery and learning. It certainly is a ladies read but it's one with many morals and lessons. It teaches about one self as it progresses. It is in many ways inspirational and educational. India is someone who can teach us how to pursue a dream and make it a reality. It teaches us how to accept people for who they are and the old cliche, 'never judge a book by it's cover'! It shows that people are not always what they seem and it explores many serious personal issues.
India may well be a fictitious character but many readers will see themselves in her, and learn from her.
Thérèse captures the Parisian world to perfection. We can picture the hotels, the streets and almost taste the wine. One will even read the French words in a French accent (guaranteed)!
The book not only looks great and reads better, but it also has a feeling of elegance about it. The cover and pages of the novel have an unusual texture that it feels elegant to the very touch.
There are many words of inspiration within this novel but my favourite must surely be Leonard Cohens 'Act the way you want to be and soon you'll be the way you act'! It teaches one to be confident and believe in oneself.
This book will have you (as it has me) craving a Parisian holiday and adventure. It will instill in you the belief in yourself and it will leave you wanting more. If there's one holiday read you need this summer, it's 'LETTER from PARIS' by Thérèse, and published by The Story Plant. You won't regret it!
LETTER from PARIS is published on June 10th and coming to a bookstore near you this summer!

The Great Hunger, performed by Peter Duffy, at Derry's Playhouse!

The Bare Bodkin Theatre Co. presented The Great Hunger tonight at The Playhouse in Derry. Peter Duffy brought one of Patrick Kavanagh's finest works to life on the Derry stage. Duffy not only recited this epic poem, he enacted the peasants experience throughout.
Referred to by many critics as Kavanagh's 'finest work', The Great Hunger was written in 1942 and is a long narrative poem. The poem tells the story of Patrick Maguire, a peasant who, in the cautious way of many Irish peasants after the devastating famines of the mid-nineteenth century, postpones marriage and children while improving his small farm and increases his meagre wealth. Gradually Maguire realises that his own virtuous self-denial - his industriousness, devotion to an aging mother, and adherence to the moral teachings of the Catholic church - have led him to emotional desolation. Too old and too tied to his land, he will remain unmarried and isolated, a common fate in the Ireland of Kavanagh's day. In the poem, Kavanagh's lyrical evocations of the beauty of the countryside merely heighten the sense of Maguire's sorrow. There is an excellent mixture of poetic voices and rhythms in this work.
Duffy did the work tremendous justice tonight on stage in Derry. He brought it alive and showed just what a literary legacy Patrick Kavanagh has left the world.
Peter Duffy grew up in rural Monaghan near where Patrick Kavanagh was born. He grew up on a small Monaghan farm and so has a ready affinity for Kavanagh's material which informs and shines through his absorbing interpretation of the work.
His father knew Patrick Kavanagh and Duffy took time after his performance to share his knowledge of Kavanagh with us, the audience. He explained that the character of Maguire was a compilation of the Parish Priest, Canon Maguire, where Kavanagh lived, and the poet's own dislike of his own name, Paddy! Cannon Maguire was a very educated man whom Kavanagh respected and felt he could relate to. Kavanagh has a grave dislike to his name Paddy and incorporated this into his epic poem. Maguire is a fictitious  character but is drawn from these two components.
The Great Hunger shows compassion, spirituality, grave difficulties and yet many comic moments. At moments tonight we, the audience, were sympathetic, angry and at others laughing out loud. Such was Duffy's performance.
Duffy explained another element to Kavanagh's 'otherness' and feelings of being on the 'outside'. He told the story of how Kavanagh's father was born and the effect this had on the poets life and emotions. He made Kavanagh a very real presence in Derry tonight!
An epic poem was performed at it's best.

THE GREAT HUNGER: The Market Place Theatre, Armagh, April 26th 8pm

Monday, 7 April 2014

Optical Illusion at Mamore Gap!

Having driven over Mamore Gap many times I never falter to be amazed by the view. And always take time to stop at the St. Colmcille and Our Lady statues. It was only whilst travelling that way yesterday that I noticed something I hadn't before! 

As we drove over Mamore Gap yesterday I was intrigued to read at one stopover about the ‘optical illusion’ which was just down the road a little. It said to take the car ‘out of gear’ on reaching the ‘white stone’ on the left side of the road, release the handbrake and see what happens.
We did just that…reached the white stone, which sat a the bottom of a small hill…we put the car our of gear, released the handbrake, and off we went….freewheeling uphill! An ‘optical illusion’ may imply a little magical experience, but clearly the ‘uphill’ was only an illusion. However, it did indeed seem rather unreal. But a bit of fun on a Sunday afternoon too.
Try it for yourself next time you’re on Mamore Gap…and see!!!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Marks of Time: Exhibition by Manus Deery!

A Watercolour Painting Exhibition, considering the buildings that have contributed to Derry City and made it what it is today, is currently on display at The Playhouse in Derry. The exhibition is running until Friday April 11th.
The show illustrates the development of the city's architecture over time through 72 watercolour sketches, supplemented by brief explanatory notes.
Today's city is a complex place, influenced by its site, available materials and local traditions, yet displays influences from ideas across the world. It is a city with places of great beauty, and a robust character making it a city to be proud of.
The exhibition, which was first launched at The Playhouse in June last year, now returns until  April 11th.
All paintings are for sale with donations going to the Simon Community Northern Ireland.  Deery is the Principal Conservation Architect in the Historic Buildings Unit of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. How fitting that an architect is donating  proceeds from his exhibition to the Simon Community!
The accompanying book, MARKS OF TIME, published by Guildhall Press (Derry), is on sale from all local bookshops.