From 1972 to 1977, the author, an American poet from the Midwest, lived on a small, unmodernized island off the west coast of Ireland. Her adventure begins when Tall, as a rebellious undergraduate, falls under the romantic spell of a much older visiting Irish professor. He, undergoing the dissolution of a marriage, is seeking a pure source of inspiration free from the taint of city life. Together on the island, they gradually establish a communion with the reclusive inhabitants, glorying in the savage beauty of the environment, coping with the lack of amenities, and constantly astounded at the ``tight, viperish nest'' that, at the memoir's close, is home to only 192 people. A record of two people's futile attempt to keep the world at bay, the book is also an affectionate elegy for a way of life that has very nearly passed. January 27
The author, a poet and teacher of creative writing, lived on a rugged and sparsely inhabited island off the west coast of Ireland for five years, from 1972 to 1977. This is the moving account of her experiences there. The traditional way of life is dying as the islanders either leave or embrace modern conveniences. These changes themselves are threatening their existence as they are no longer self-sufficient and have to rely on government support and a short-lived summer tourist season. Tall describes the history, vitality, problems, lives and deaths of the islanders in poignant and enthralling detail. Highly recommended. Christine King, SUNY at Stony Brook Lib.