A Treasure Revealed — The Books of Soinbhe Lally
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been the custom for "A Home Page with an Irish Flavour" to eschew commercial
promotions. Numerous attempts have been made by purveyors of all manner of goods
and services to secure links to this site, in anticipation of gain or profit. As
readers are aware, the material found on this Home Page is offered for
enjoyment, possible enlightenment, and for encouragement of further research
into topics that they find of interest.
Recently, however, a discovery was made of a treasure hitherto unknown to
me, the books of Irish author Soinbhe Lally. Soinbhe’s name has appeared here on
a number of occasions, but without the knowledge that she is an author of rare
distinction. That omission is now belatedly recognised. Some weeks ago two of
her early books, "The Hungry Wind" and "Song of the River", arrived in the post,
and brought to me and members of my family hours of reading enjoyment.
The first describes the travails of two young sisters living on the
Donegal sea coast when the Irish Famine strikes, losing their home and widowed
mother, forcing them into a workhouse, and eventually being transported to
Australia. It tugs at the heart, and ends with the promise of clouds with silver
"Song of the River" is a gem. It is a book for all ages. The young will
love it, their elders will love it even more. Seldom has a book given me such
pleasure. It would be wicked to spoil the delight it gives by telling the story
in a brief review. Suffice it to say that the central figures are Gaffer and
Fingal, two salmon, whose odyssey from river to ocean and return to river is
vividly described in chapter after riveting chapter. They have lots of friends,
among them Silverfin, Bubble, Coral Bud, a baby seal, and a crotchety otter with
a heart of gold.
Buy it. Read it. And tell your friends.
You don’t have to rely on my judgment. The "Sunday Tribune" review
bluntly describes it as "A book to reach for…An unusual and mystical
"The Irish Times" review declared: "What Watership Down has done for
rabbits and the Run Wild Books have done for foxes, Ms Lally now does for life
below the waves."
A third Soinbhe Lally book, "A Hive for the Honey Bee", described as a
‘girls’ book, is the author’s own favourite to date. Whether read as a
beautifully written nature book, or allegory which readers may interpret at
several levels, its impact is compelling, leaving one to wonder where the author
will lead us next.
"The Hungry Wind", "Song of the River" and "A Hive for the Honey Bee" are
published by Poolbeg Press, Dublin, Ireland. "A Hive for the Honey Bee" is
available in the USA through Scholastic, and has also been translated into
| Canadian Vindicator