After This Our Exile
by Aubrey Malone
Penniless Press, £13
reviewed by Buck Mulligan
This is a poignant novel about a farmerís son, Brian Kilcoyne,
from the town of
While staying in a
The book has its most emotional moments in the relationship here, with Brian wondering if itís going anywhere or if sheís just marking time with him. He also has guilt feelings about Jennifer.
The relationship ends and he returns to
His continuing feelings for the American barmaid, which he does his best to rid himself of, makes it difficult for him to take up with Jennifer where he left off. Marriage is mooted but he canít give himself over to any kind of permanence. By now Jennifer has had a child after a one night stand with another man. This complicates their relationship further.
Brian argues with Bartley. He also has problems with Angela , who fusses over him too much in an effort to replace his mother in his affections. A further source of conflict is his brother Declan, who runs a computer firm in Newbridge. Hehas a good relationship with Declanís wife, Yvonne, whoís been trying hard to have a baby for years..
By now Bartley is getting too old to run the farm. He does an auctioneering course and becomes an investor in a real estate firm in the town. He asks Brian to join him in it as it would provide a good future for him. Declan also considers opening a sister company in Newbridge beside his computer firm.
Declan and Bartley put pressure on Brian, who continues to drift, to commit to them. Brian vacillates. He pines for the old days as he tries to settle into his new life but finds this difficult. For a time he regenerates his love for Jennifer but there are too many tensions impinging on his mind to make his future any way secure.
I wonít reveal any more of the plot. Suffice to say the book is
written in a terse, and often tense, style. Thereís a lot of
dialogue but this also is terse and doesnít slow down the plot.
There are many lyrical passages in the book, which will be of
particular interest to
Itís on sale from the Amazon and Lulu websites. Itís a novel of diaspora, of love and the end of love, and also a rite of passage story that chronicles a changing rural landscape and the resentment of a provincial mentality towards more cosmopolitan concerns. Its main strength is its focus on Brian as he changes his attitude to himself, his family and his roots as he seeks his identity in two different continents.