By Peter Murphy
In the 1980s, Ireland was on the brink – the Celtic Tiger was yet to arise and change the face, and faces, of Dublin with prosperity and foreigners. Volatile anger, shimmering myths and lachrymose poetry still ruled the night as rough-hewn workers and lost university students hefted pints at Grogan’s pub.
Stepping into the swirling blend of the old and the new is Janice, a young painter from Toronto, who has crossed the ocean to seek passion in her life and her art. Her affair with Aidan, Ireland’s rising poet, leads her through the veil of the Celtic Twilight to a place of reward and danger in Peter Murphy’s stunning debut novel LAGAN LOVE (The Fiction Studio, June 7, 2011).
Drawing on Ireland’s rich history and mellifluous ability to speak legend into art through such Irish geniuses as William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, Murphy weaves a tale that draws on Celtic lore as much as the hard facts of economic recovery. Into the lives of Janice and Aidan and their more practical friends walks the mysterious Gwen, who may be far more than the beautiful seductress she seems on the surface.
Trailing Gwen like cigarette smoke in a tavern is the myth of the leanan sídhe, or lenanshee, a fairy spirit who inspires lovers to ever-greater creative heights – at a price. Can the levelheaded Sinead, who has dedicated herself to seizing new career opportunities, or the kind and romantic Ronan, keep their friends from being swept away by the Ireland that dwells just beneath the surface?
Evoking the days when the love for Ireland was hidden in the lyrics about a beautiful woman in the classic 15th-century song, My Lagan Love, Murphy’s freshman novel reveals the complex layers of his homeland – as bracing as a pint on a chilly Dublin evening.
I look forward to introducing you to Ireland’s freshest literary voice.
Meryl L. Moss