Amongst Women by John McGahern is an excellent look at a family’s life in rural Ireland in the 1960s. McGahern writes a quiet sort of novel and yet he address a number of important themes.
Moran is an old Republican whose life was forever transformed by his days of glory as a guerrilla leader in the War of Independence. Now in old age, living out in the country, Moran is still fighting but this time with his family, his friends and even himself.
I find John McGahern’s sense of time and place excellent and I find myself so drawn into his books and stories. I loved how McGahern hints at more than his narrative tells in the story and you are left filling in the gaps. This is a character driven novel and the plot takes a back seat.
The characters are so well depicted in this novel and especially that of Moran. Many people reading this novel will have known a “Moran” while growing up in 50/60s rural Ireland. A man who thinks the whole world is out to get him, who rarely shows emotion, who loves his family to the point of losing them and who must also be tiptoed around, his moods must always be weighed up and he must never be challenged for fear of upsetting him.
I really got drawn into this novel and its characters. McGahern’s novels are not for every reader, but I really enjoy his writing and his honest look at 50/60s rural Ireland.