Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review of Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

I listened to this book on CD, and the beautiful Irish accent of the bog child reader, Sile Bermingham, had me mesmerized from the very start. This book is written by the author of another of my favorite books, The London Eye Mystery. I don’t know a lot about the political struggle between Northern Ireland and Ireland, but I know a bit more after reading Bog Child. As usual, I appreciate history more when it’s related in a personal story. Fergus is out with his Uncle Tally, having crossed over the border into Ireland to illegally harvest turf, when he discovers a body in the bog. He insists on contacting the authorities, and when archaeologists come to extricate the body, they realize that it’s been there for a long, long time. Fergus feels a strange affinity for the dead girl, even dreaming about her and how she came to end up in the bog. He is also struggling with his own feelings about the struggle for independence. His brother is in prison, and has gone on hunger strike, like Bobby Sands, to protest Ireland’s refusal to label him as a political prisoner. Fergus also is approached by a friend of his brother’s, and coerced into carrying packages across the border on his daily runs. As if this isn’t enough, he finds himself falling for the daughter of the head archaeologist. The writing in this book is beautiful, and Fergus is a great genuine character. The book is funny and sad, my favorite combination. Review by Stacy Church