Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This paragraph from Ken Bruen's first novel,is an example of how he can write rings around just about anyone in the field.  The finely-chiseled, short sentences contain more meat than many books' giving us an entire culture in one brief paragraph -- Irish angst at its very best:

     "Padraig was laid in Billy's Acre...well away from the paying clients.  In the days of the poor house they took them there.  To the present, your status could be destroyed if anyone belonged to you had been put there.  It veered on the Protestant graves, and those were the pits.  On Cemetery Sunday, the priest blessing the graves ignored the paupers and the Protestants.  The area of Billy's Acre was neglected and overgrown.  The caretaker didn't bother with their upkeep, as who was there to complain.  The Protestants were well known for their non-tending of the dead.  I learned that at school.  They believed, 'You passed on.'  Why visit the graveyard when no one was home.  They didn't just chuck Padraig into the ground.  But there wasn't a whole lot of ceremony either.  The priest read that dirge in which 'man has but a short time to live and is full of misery.'  T'was more fitting to us around the grave than the fellah within it."

     -- from Funeral:  Tales of Irish Morbidities by Ken Bruen, 1991


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