Cowslips and Chainies

Cowslips and Chainies

by Elaine Crowley
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Cowslips and Chainies is a poignant memoir of childhood in 1930s and early ’40s Dublin. Best-selling novelist Elaine Crowley’s account of tenement life is by turns hilarious and intensely sad. Her beloved, consumptive father – generous, handsome and fickle – works at the local undertakers. Her proud, resourceful mother, struggling with privation,

Overview

Cowslips and Chainies is a poignant memoir of childhood in 1930s and early ’40s Dublin. Best-selling novelist Elaine Crowley’s account of tenement life is by turns hilarious and intensely sad. Her beloved, consumptive father – generous, handsome and fickle – works at the local undertakers. Her proud, resourceful mother, struggling with privation, alternates slaps with kisses in a turbulent relationship with young Nella. Through the eyes of a natural storyteller, we enjoy scenes from a receding past vividly enacted: the teeming life of the Iveagh Market; the street-games and domestic strife; the stratagems for survival among pawnbrokers and money-lenders. We share in Crowley’s wide-eyed witness of a pre-school plot to murder the neighbour’s toddler, the excitement of the 1932 Eucharistic Congress, the trauma of leaving the Liberties for a Corporation house on the city fringe, attempts at sex education thwarted by nuns, her first job in the sewing factory at the age of fourteen, an outing to foil her father’s ‘carryings on’, and his moving death from TB in the early part of 1942. Cowslips and Chainies is infused with wonder and particularity, and conveys an overwhelming love of place and persons. It is a classic of Irish autobiography.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this gently nostalgic memoir, novelist Crowley (Dreams of Other Days; A Family Curse) recalls her youth in the hardscrabble, blue-collar milieu of Dublin prior to WWII. Crowley portrays a tranquil childhood though her home life, captured here with loving strokes, was hardly easy. First in a one-room flat, later in a project house, her ever-resourceful and prideful mother scraped pennies, had an ongoing relationship with the pawnbroker that kept poverty at bay, and watched over her handsome, English-born and occasionally errant husband. What stands out in Crowley's storytelling is the mutual, often expressed, affection between father and daughter. His lingering death from tuberculosis in 1942 is seen through the eyes of young Nella who, giving up hopes of higher education, goes to work in a sewing factory. Humor is as abundant as pathos in Nella's tales of challenging the rules of her mother and of the nuns. The title, the name of a game played by children with broken pieces of crockery, is indicative of the youthful innocence and resilience amid poverty. (May)
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
In this gently nostalgic memoir, novelist Crowley (Dreams of Other Days; A Family Curse) recalls her youth in the hardscrabble, blue-collar milieu of Dublin prior to WWII. Crowley portrays a tranquil childhood though her home life, captured here with loving strokes, was hardly easy. First in a one-room flat, later in a project house, her ever-resourceful and prideful mother scraped pennies, had an ongoing relationship with the pawnbroker that kept poverty at bay, and watched over her handsome, English-born and occasionally errant husband. What stands out in Crowley's storytelling is the mutual, often expressed, affection between father and daughter. His lingering death from tuberculosis in 1942 is seen through the eyes of young Nella who, giving up hopes of higher education, goes to work in a sewing factory. Humor is as abundant as pathos in Nella's tales of challenging the rules of her mother and of the nuns. The title, the name of a game played by children with broken pieces of crockery, is indicative of the youthful innocence and resilience amid poverty.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781843512462
Publisher:
Lilliput Press, Limited, The
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
172
File size:
923 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >