COPYRIGHT 1994; WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY LORNA BALIAN
A cute story that contains all the Irish pastoral stereotypes: a poor farm, a gran and her granddaughter on the edge of starvation, no potatoes, no water, and no easy solutions. Oy! The little girl and her gran get into it with the leprechaun. You know how it goes: they want the wee man to tell them where the pot o’gold is. He keeps saying it’s in one place, but when the girl goes to look, she can’t find it. In the meantime, with all the hunting around for the pot, the roof gets re-thatched, the water gets drawn from the river, and the potatoes get harvested. Mr. Wee Leprechaun is crazy like a fox. Hoo-boot!
The edition I have is from the 90s. This one on the left is from the 2004 edition. Way better. My old one looks like a low-budget job with it’s brown cover, generic-looking artwork and sepia text. The artwork is all sepia, too, except the leprechaun who is always painted in green. Not a bad idea, but the muddy brown of the cover is a turn-off.
This is a stupid thing to be concerned about, but the story mentions that gran and girl live on potato soup. That’s it. Like it’s okay. No fruits, no bread. No meat. I don’t know why it’s freaking me out, but it does.
Here’s another book that I have that’s quite nice:
QPB BOOK OF IRISH LITERATURE
Since I’m running out of March, I figured I’d double up. During the first year of this blog, it was a regular thing to blog a group of books. Lately, I’m not doing as much and only blogging one book at a time for the most part. Just phases, I think. I got this volume through the Quality Paperback Book Club in 1999. They’re a nice lot. Good bargains. But, Oh my God, it took me about two years to shake them off, bless their hearts. This is a big, fat volume so you don’t read it all through immediately. Choose your section and dig in. You may not like everything, but you’ll be impressed by the skill. It’s an interesting collection. It’s a lot more thorough than what you’d see in, say “The Norton Anthology of Everything That’s Ever Been Written in Europe Ever”. Yes, it has familiar standards such as Brinsley Sheridan, but it also has his mother, a great-great granddaughter and his son. Lashings of Yeats, Shaw, Synge, and Oscar. Joyce, Heaney, and O’Casey, and an atypical bit o’Beckett.
The editors were savvy about including writers not particularly popular outside of Ireland, but who are staples of native literature. Kind of like in the Norton Anthology of American Lit, you might find Amy Lowell, but not in their World Lit collection. There’s also a ridiculous wealth of prose styles: letters, dialogues, novel excerpts (guess who…), the complete “Playboy of The Western World”, and short stories. There’s poetry as well. Great poetry. Illustrations are kind of lame. Real bargain basement clip art. If y’all were going to be that cheap about it, why put it in at all? The Irish manipulate English to an astonishing degree. They’re like sorcerers, bending phrases to their will and mesmerizing you with all the connotative possibilities. Sentences are like prisms, turned this way and that, phrases reflecting shades of meaning. And that’s just the prose! The poetry? Fuggedaboutit!
I made an interesting discovery. In “Sailing to Byzantium” by Yeats, the first line is “That is no country for old men.” Sound familiar? Cool! I did not remember that it came from that poem. Where I live is no place for the living. People have more in common with a nest of fire ants ‘round these parts.
The book is for sale at Amazon through sellers. It might be available through eBay. It’s really a super collection. I’m not a huge fan of Norton books anymore. They try to be too many things to too many readers. When you’re reading Joyce, it’s helpful to have a Latin phrasebook handy. Here’s the search results at Amazon.