128 x 198 x 19mm
When Christopher Koch sets out on a journey through Ireland with his friend the folksinger Brian Mooney, each is seeking an aspect of the past. Mooney is returning to a country where he spent much of his adult life, while two of Koch’s great-great-grandmothers came from Ireland to Van Diemen’s Land: one of them as a convict.
Koch is looking for traces of the mid-nineteenth century: the time of the Famine, which flung the ancestors of so many Irish-Australians across the globe. What he finds, between meetings in pubs with folk musicians and IRA supporters, is modern Ireland. Greatly changed from the impoverished country he visited in the 1950s, it’s enjoying the boom of the early twenty-first century, despite the unresolved struggle in the North.
For Koch, though, the true soul of this land is to be found in the countryside, where doorways can still be seen to the different levels of the Faery Otherworld: the Many-Coloured Land.
‘It is difficult to praise this book too highly. When a master like Koch writes, you expect masterly writing. In this book that is what you get.’ The Canberra Times
‘This is one of the most accurately observed books about Ireland, written by a foreigner, that I have read … [Koch] came well equipped to assess us, and he makes none of the blunders of the tourist-writer. He is well read in our history and literature … He is in every way a perceptive but courteous visitor.’ Irish Independent