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Posted June 19, 2013
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HUNGRY HILL is the name of a mountain full in 1820 of hitherto untapped but profitably mined copper and tin ores. It is located on the southern coast of (never named) Ireland. For centuries Hungry Hill had lain undisturbed within the domain of a Catholic landed gentry family the Donovans. In 1820 Hungry Hill and surrounding lands was, however, in the hands of the Brodricks, Protestant newcomers (i.e. since the late 1500s under Queen Elizabeth!) from England. Until more than 80 years earlier the Brodricks had been slowly rising into an educated minuscule lower middle class of Anglo-Irish clerks in neighboring counting houses. But they rose suddenly to power in the days of the grandfather of "Copper John" Brodrick, the novel's first hero in a century stretching from 1820 - 1920. ***
Five years after the mine opens, clan chief Monte Donovan prays heaven for vengeance on those who have usurped his lands and dug copper without permission of either Hungry Hill or of the fairies who protect its wealth: "I have cursed your father tonight, and your brother, and now I curse you, John Brodrick ... and not only you, but your sons after you, and your grandsons, and may your wealth bring them nothing but despair and desolation and evil, until the last of them stands humble and ashamed amongst the ruins of it, with the Donovans back again in Clonmere on the land that belongs to them" (p. 54). ***
Shortly, Copper John Brodrick, assisted by his two sons Henry and John, will have taken such decisive punitive action against the Donovans that the Brodericks in contempt pay no attention in following generations to the curse and dismiss the Donovans as cowardly, lazy, unprogressive good-for-nothings. The rest of Daphne du Maurier's 1943 novel HUNGRY HILL probes whether the lordly, detached, self-superior Brodricks were well-advised to ignore those little nobodies. Now and then more or less random encounters between representatives of the two families suggest that at some point the land's original owners just might make that curse ring true. Please read HUNGRY HILL for yourself and see for yourself how things turn out! -OOO-
Posted October 27, 2012
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