Brian Keenan

Turlough
  • Turlough

  • While held hostage by fundamentalist Shi'ite militiamen in the suburbs of Beirut, Brian Keenan was visited and sustained by the presence of Turlough O'Carolan - the legendary blind Irish harper of the seventeenth century. This novel is thus a re-creation of an extraordinary historical story and a personal debt repaid. It is also, obliquely, a parallel life - another life imprisoned, shaped by the dark.Narrated largely by O'Carolan from his death-bed, and through the recollections of those closest to him, Turlough powerfully brings to life a lost Ireland of famine and disease, eviction and oppression. Stalking through the broken and dispossessed comes Turlough O'Carolan, the musical prodigy, blinded by smallpox and now an itinerant harper, lauded by the aristocracy and a hero to his people. His Rabelaisian desire for drink and women is counterpointed by his artistic struggle towards the great music and some kind of inner peace. Driven by demons and dreams, riven by contradictions, Turlough emerges as a great man, full of frailty: a blind man afraid of the dark.A panoramic picaresque, rich with the textures and smells of rural Ireland and peopled by a host of angels and devils, Turlough is a remarkable historical journey, and a huge imaginative feat

Biography for John McCarthy As a journalist in television news John McCarthy was sent on his first foreign assignment to Beirut in 1986 aged twenty-nine. His career was abruptly cut short by militiamen who kidnapped and held him captive for five and half years. Since his release he has written four books - Some Other Rainbow (with Jill Morrell), about his hostage years, Island Race (with Sandi Toksvig), an account of their circumnavigation of Britain, and Between Extremes (with Brian Keenan), a journey through Chile and his latest, A Ghost Upon Your Path. John McCarthy continues to work in both radio and television. Biography for Brian Keenan Brian Keenan is a writer and poet. AN EVIL CRADLING is the story of his four years' captivity in Beirut and is recognized as a non-fiction classic. He is also the author of a travel book, BETWEEN EXTREMES with John McCarthy, and a novel, TULLOUGH.

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