Cover image for Motherland
O'Grady, Timothy.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1989]

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Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like J. P. Donleavy, O'Grady is an American so splendidly able to render Irish eccentrics it's hard to believe he isn't to the mannerism born. This first novel, which won Britain's Higham Award last year, is a remarkable feat of history, narrative and characterization that ticks along like a perfect watch. Narrated by a grotesque and melancholy character, the novel opens with his search for his missing mother in the rooms of her Dublin flat where all he finds is a putrid dead tortoise and a furious neglected monkey, who becomes his companion. Her disappearance leads him on a quest that mirrors Ireland's own divided and paradoxical past. Sometimes mystical, frequently ironic, O'Grady's narrator speaks with a rare eloquence that gives this odyssey a grandeur seldom encountered in contemporary fiction. Rich, Byzantine plotting and writing that is often spellbinding should establish O'Grady's place in the canon of modern Irish literature, his Chicago origins notwithstanding. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

O'Grady's first novel is an oddly fascinating tale in the tradition of magical realists like Garcia Marquez. Arriving at his Dublin home to find his mother gone, her pet monkey shrieking, and her turtle dead, the narrator, an obese, web-fingered clairvoyant, embarks on a quest. With the help of his grandfather and an ornately bound chronicle of the Synnotts, a Norman family who came to Ireland in the 12th century, he finds not only the whereabouts of his mother, but the truth of his own and Ireland's past. His recognition of the necessary complementarity of a divided country and people is at once compelling and genuinely realized. Highly recommended.-- Donald P. Kaczvinsky, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.