A year in an Irish Garden
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Number of Pages: 304
Width: 15.3 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Thirty-four years ago, when they were in their twenties, Niall Williams and Christine Breen made the impulsive decision to leave their lives in New York City and move to Christine's ancestral home in the town of Kiltumper in rural Ireland. In the decades that followed, the pair dedicated themselves to writing, gardening and living a life that followed the rhythms of the earth. In 2019, with Christine in the final stages of recovery from cancer and the land itself threatened by the arrival of turbines just one farm over, Niall and Christine decided to document a year of living in their garden and in their small corner of a rapidly changing world. Proceeding month by month through the year, this is the story of a garden in all its many splendours, and a couple who have made their life observing its wonders.
Moving and surprisingly provocative ... This couple's narrative is more than a January-December chronicle, it is the result of decades of care ... In Kiltumper is as much a book about the cherishing of a marriage as it is about the love of a place ... A heartfelt paean to a disappearing way of life -- Dominique Browning * Wall Street Journal * A record, both honest and beautiful, of a sustainable but precarious way of life -- Claire Connolly * Times Literary Supplement * Poignant ... A meditation on life, love and the importance of nature -- Brian Maye * Irish Times * Beautifully written ... A wonderfully lyrical and uplifting read -- Dermot Bolger * Sunday Business Post * An absorbing and thought-provoking read -- Diarmuid Gavin * Irish Independent * An intimate, meditative garden memoir -- Hilary White * Sunday Independent * While the events chronicled rarely move beyond the garden, and while the descriptions are so intimate they almost elicit grief for the dying cherry tree and spark exhortations to the dahlias to hold on to their heavy heads, it is the gardeners' personalities that bloom -- Caroline O'Doherty * Irish Independent * The small Kiltumper acreage is detailed with a sense of wonder and of pleasure ... Chapter after chapter is enhanced with exquisite pencil drawings ... Frequently quotable, always eloquent ... This is a book full of joy, warmly rich with accomplishment and wonder and a strong sense of mutual commitment -- Mary Leland * Irish Examiner * Arresting ... Remarkable ... This book, in Seamus Heaney's phrase, catches the heart off guard ... Uncommonly magical ... Read it and be restored to yourself -- Cahir O'Doherty * Irish Central * I loved their two voices, truthful and gentle and generous, so full of care for their land and for each other ... A record of how deeply life can be lived within a garden's walls -- GEORGINA HARDING A beautiful story, with words at once uplifting and poignant. Full of the acceptance and the optimism that only a garden and the act of caring for it brings -- JO THOMPSON I read it with enormous pleasure ... There were so many episodes I loved, whether they were heartbreaking or uplifting ... It was a delight to step into Niall and Christine's precious garden, into the rhythms of their way of living, and to be refreshed -- TIM PEARS This is a book to whet one's appetite - for reading, writing, gardening - and living. I loved the counterpoint of the two voices as they face age, cancer, the struggle to write, to garden - to keep at it - under the threat of wind turbines and the wild Atlantic wind; not to give up. A triumph -- Katherine Swift A celebration of life in rural Ireland * Irish Times, Best books for Christmas 2021 * Including beautiful pen and ink drawings by Christine, this is the story of a garden in all its many splendours and a couple who have made their life observing its wonders * Countryside * Whether you like gardening or enjoy reflections on a life lived simply in harmony with nature, this book is a sheer joy ... Niall and Christine celebrate the challenges and joys in delightful detail, from feeding Harp beer to brassicas, to running writing workshops and sharing the good life with friends and family -- Zoe West * Woman & Home, Book Club Awards * Here, they record 12 months of work in their garden, capturing their love of the land - which has been in Christine's family since the 18th century - and also reflecting on the past and anxiously contemplating what the future holds as climate change takes hold. Through everything, their garden is a lovingly nurtured constant * Sunday Express, S Magazine * Twelve months in a cherished garden ... The good life, with its ups and downs * Saga * A celebration of the solace of country life ... Country living, Breen reflects, teaches "about darkness and stars, about sunlight and silence, about things out of your control": about the inevitability of change. The book includes Breen's elegant botanical drawings. A warm homage to a piece of beloved Irish land * Kirkus Reviews * The book will appeal to any devoted gardener, and it also serves as an inviting snapshot of a place -- Eric Liebetrau * Kirkus Reviews *