|Jacket design: Jeff Fisher|
I got this edition of The Heather Blazing with its beautifully designed cover from my wife for Christmas. I've been wanting to read more novels by Colm Tóibín, especially after reading - and enjoying - Brooklyn so much.
The Heather Blazing is Tóibín's second novel and set in his home country, Ireland. The main character is Eamon Redmond, a judge in the Irish High Court. As Eamon spends his days preparing for complicated court cases in a small village on the Irish shore, he begins to remember his childhood and the death of his father. At the same time, he also recalls his relationship with his wife and daughter.
The Heather Blazing is a very slow-paced novel, full of gloomy memories, Irish politics and the rainy seaside village that provides the setting for both Eamon's childhood memories and his present days. The novel seems fairly simple: not much happens - an old man is just remembering his childhood. But somehow the atmosphere of Eamon's childhood summers and the relationship with his father are closely related to the summers of his adult life and the relationship between him and his wife. Once you notice the similarities between the two, the novel's structure actually becomes quite complicated.
This was a very strange novel and I found it extremely difficult to somehow dig under the surface of the story. :) Not the "easiest" novel by Tóibín to read. The tone of the novel and the setting reminded me of The Blackwater Lightship, but the characters and the tension in the novel were not as interesting in my opinion. So a bit of a disappointment...
Colm Tóibín: The Heather Blazing. Bloomsbury. 1992. 262 pages.
The Independent: "Just Like Old Troubled Times: 'The Heather Blazing'
Wikipedia: The Heather Blazing