Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Landsbird

Title: The Landsbird

Author: Colin Dunne

Year of publication: 1979, Fontana edition 1981

Back cover blurb: 'The family had always lived in the village, and controlled the lives of the fishermen.  Now Paul was the last of the family - and perhaps the best of them all.  Maggie was a modern girl, a rich girl from the big cities, a world so far from Paul's that he could not see the danger tha his love for her would bring, not only to him, but to the whole village.'

Quick flick reveals: In all honesty, I didn't find this novel's cover, subject or story premise that attractive, and I only acquired it because of the recommendation from David Niven on the front ('A splendid story, splendidly told').  After all David Niven didn't go round singing the praises of just any book.  Not Nivers.  Nivs.  The Nivmeister.  Nivardo.  Niva Demus & Pliars.  Actually, he might have done.  I haven't really looked into it.
   Anyway, this novel by journalist Dunne all seems a bit soapy, and ITV might want to look at it for one of those dreadful two-part miniseries they do, but there are a few quirky things going on in the details, such as the rather judgemental description of a studenty folk group below, which suggest there might be a bit more to it than that.

Random paragraph: 'The group was composed of three young men.  They wore untrimmed beards which were intended to give an appearance of roaring virility.  Sadly, the thin growths on their city-pale faces suggested only that they had recently been released from a tuberculosis hospital and were still too weak to shave.  Two of them strummed guitar chords while the third, one hand cupped around his ear, sang in a peculiarly nasal manner that he imagined to be the sort of noise an old mariner would make.  They were very popular, and the sailing club members, particularly, applauded vigorously after each song, almost wiping the salt spray from their faces.'


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