This is the story of John McGahern's childhood, his mother's death, his father's anger and violence, and how, through his discovery of books, his dream of becoming a writer began. At the heart of Memoir is a son's unembarrassed tribute to his mother. His memory of walks with her through the narrow lanes to the country schools where she taught and his happiness as she named for him the wild flowers on the bank remained conscious and unconscious presences for the rest of his life. A classic family story, told with exceptional restraint and tenderness, Memoir cannot fail to move all those who read it.
exist. In the years that followed, my reputation drew people to the house – journalists, the curious, others – even writers. They were not welcomed: Grevisk Dear Sean A Mr Kiley [the distinguished writer and critic, Benedict Kiely] blew in one day last week. I think he was on the raz¬ zle. Should you see him tell him I heard he was a decent fellow and that I’ll attend his funeral if I hear of it. Regards, Daddy Kiely could be loquacious. Whatever he said must have rankled. From the little
locked the brake on their big pram. I must have been planning how to get them out of my life for some time. I learned to unlock the brake, and one day, after careful checking that nobody was watching either from the forge or the house or the road, I pushed the pram down the slope. The pass wasn’t steep and the wheels would have bumped and slowed on the clinkers, but before it came to a stop the pram wheeled off the pass and overturned. The twins weren’t hurt, but all this time my grandmother had
Take greens and milk foods and watch constipation and indigestion above all. You seem to have lost confidence in God and to be worrying unnecessarily. The nuns who spoke to me yesterday say you’d be better giving up the teaching and I think if you act reasonably you have nothing to fear. The only thing I fear is your going against me in your quiet way as regards the children and you can get over it. The responsibility is too much for you and I am suffering also. So may God direct you. I wrote to
rest at Knockvicar and buy biscuits and lemonade, the yellow, fizzy lemonade we loved, and we’d prolong this royal feast for as long as possible before turning the boat for home. My father liked that I was catching fish; he preferred fish to meat; they cost nothing, and he believed they were good for his health. Whenever the river didn’t take me from work or prayer, I could go in the boat unregarded: it grew to be a passion and an incredible freedom. I came to love that river, the red and black
Margaret and Monica will be gone in a year or two. The only person it affects is yourself and maybe Dympna and Frankie.’ ‘Whether the family are here or away, they are still members of the family and it affects everybody.’ ‘Look,’ I could control myself no longer, and rose. ‘I told you I have no objection. I think you are very lucky to find anybody. Marry the woman but don’t bring me into the business.’ I got up and left. I don’t know how he presented this scene to Agnes McShera, or if he told