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The Nature of Water and Air Paperback – May 2, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
From the very opening of the book, when Clodagh says "My mother was never easy in the world of houses. She was a tinker, a traveler girl who had married a wealthy man. Her name was Agatha Sheehy...There are silences all around my mother's story.", you get an insight into Clodagh's personality too. While she is describing her mother's flighty ways, you get the feeling that Clodagh wants to have her mother be more attentive. At one point, Agatha tells Clodagh "you want to be in my skin with me" and you understand how close Clodagh really wants to be with her mother. A little further into the novel, you are with Clodagh as her mother commits suicide. From then on, the story is less about Agatha Sheehy and more about Clodagh Sheehy. From the trials of being a teenager going into puberty and learning about herself as a woman, to finding a man she is irrestitably attracted to, this book covers all aspects of relationships. Near the end, it took an unexpected turn that was not at all foreshadowed earlier in the book, so it was a good surprise. I was stunned, and then found myself hoping that it would change (and it did). It kept me on the edge of my chair until I had finished reading it. This story is surely one that will last and will have you thinking and re-thinking about your relationships.
Regina McBride has written a haunting novel. This is her first novel, and I'd have to say it is probably one of the better written ones I've read.
Clodagh is a young woman who have spent the years of her life looking for something that was missing from her life. Her twin, Mare, died when she was a child. Agatha, her mother, was distant and aloof with Clodagh and Clodagh never felt that her mother loved her. So when Agatha died, Clodagh found her solace in music ~~ playing the piano. Only that didn't fulfill her for long and she falls in love with a man who somehow holds the clue to her mother's past.
Clodagh is a complex character ~~ you can't help but feel her anguish when she searches for what she is looking for. You can't help but admire her tenacity to hold onto life even at its darkest moments. She is a strong and yet weak character traveling between two worlds ~~ one of life and one of death.
This is an interesting book ~~ but don't expect it to be a light and fluffy read like my usual reads have been. It's full of dark underlying tones that makes you either uncomfortable or anxious to explore it. It was hard for me to keep reading on some pages because it was so dark ~~ depressing almost. But I can guarantee that you will want to finish this book and find out what has happened to Clodagh. She is a character that you will not soon forget.
Even before Clodaugh's birth, events are set in motion that will determine her own destiny. Once Frank Sheehy, the frail- hearted father dies, Clodaugh's aunts can no longer abide his wife, the wild tinker woman, Agatha, and they banish her from the West of Ireland to their empy house on the eastern coast, where she gives birth to twin daughters, the feisty precocious Clodaugh, and a sickly sister, Mary, called Mare. Agatha likes pretty dresses and trinkets, but she also likes to roam near the sea and out in the fields, seeking the campfires and caravans of the tinkers she lived with as a girl until she met Frank Sheehy. Clodaugh and Mare are mostly left to their own devices except for the kindly care of a house servant, Mrs. O'Dare. At age five, Mare dies, and the distraught and lonely Clodaugh abandons for a time the piano they played together, feels Mare inside herself at times, and wants to cleave even more strongly to her mother. However, when Agatha walks into the sea for the last time, Clodaugh is now truly alone and has to grow up. She gives up her belief in ghosts and selkies, tries to forget Agatha and Mare, and attends the convent school, where she proves herself to be an accomplished musician on the piano. She goes on to win a prestigious award at college and her destiny seems secure and certain until the call of the tinker life and in particular, the chance meeting with a copper-haired man named Angus threatens to undermine everything.Read more ›
Clodagh, the narrator is a girl with a troubled life. Her situation is not ideal, and one forgets when this story is set. The timelessness of Irish folklore is evident in Clodagh's own story. Her life is shrouded in myth and confusion, secrecy and lies. A coming of age tale, with an entirely different setting-- this book will move you.
The nature of the Irish story is always mystery. The Nature of Water and Air definitely follows this idea. Clodagh is curious, she wants to understand her past, a past that is so secreted by her family. McBride manages to take tragedy and interweave it with Catholic culture, Pagan ritual, and Irish legend. The web created by this is an Irish story on all levels of Irish culture and history. Each step delving further into each, until one realizes it is truly the nature of water and air that drive the Irish tale.
McBride has a gift for creating despair. The prose she creates whisks you into a depressing, confusing life. However, even in the darkest of times, Clodagh perseveres and wades through her life with a true strength of character.
The Nature of Water and Air is truly a gift to be shared. A brilliant first novel for McBride and truly a great read. I look forward to reading many more by McBride.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The subject matter is very hard to handle, but brings forth the inner needs of all individuals whose basic needs are hindered by dysfunctional care takers. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Flori Marks
I enjoyed reading the Irish folktale/mysticism and life of Irish Travelers through the eyes of the family.Published 4 months ago by Saben
See this review and more at: http://idiosyncraticlibrary.com/?p=355
Lyrical and haunting, The Nature of Water and Air is the debut novel of poet Regina McBride. Read more
It was a little dark the subject of insest. It did show how are parents imprints on us as children. I am glad I read it.Published 6 months ago by Laraine Labrecque
It's a well written and interesting book.At times I found it somewhat repetitive but for the most part I could not put it down. The characters are well drawn and unusual. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Elana Neumark
Thought provoking, beautifully written and in some ways lyrical. Main characters are complex and intriguing. An unusual story, most of which I enjoyed reading.Published 9 months ago by Audrey
Five stars. The fabric of this novel is a fine tapestry. The author brilliantly captures the aura and confusion of love and it's multilayered existence. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Crystal Dennis