Gifts of the Irish

I met an old friend for lunch. As we live on opposite coasts, we hadn’t seen each other in years. I mentioned that I was reading a lot of memoirs as I had started writing my own. I had just finished Country Girl by Edna O’Brien.

“Have you read her?”

Is she Irish?


No. I don’t read Irish writers. They’re too depressing.

I laughed.

I bet that she is, isn’t she?

“Well…” I didn’t know what to say – misery loves company?

That not to say O’Brien is depressing but yes, there is something about Irish writers, always some melancholy, some sadness that’s hard to pin on any one thing.

On another occasion, I mentioned to a friend, a dual citizen, how the Irish have such a gift for words in their writing. She replied

It’s because the Irish write as they speak. For example, when an American puts on weight, they say I’m fat or I’ve put on the pounds or something plain and simple. But my cousin, in describing the same phenomenon moans to me  “Ah, Kerry, I’ve been eating for all of Ireland.”

It leaves the imagery to the listener.

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