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As this is a book which is out of print,
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Breda Claffey has set her heart on returning to Kerry. For in Kerry is the Honey Spike, the 'lucky' hospital
in which her child must be born. No other spike will do. But she and Martin are far from home, in the northernmost
tip of Ireland - the first Southern tinkers ever to make the journey - and Kerry is a long, wearisome distance by cart.
THE HONEY SPIKE evokes an Ireland which has remained unaltered for centuries. Its people live as they have always lived;
putting their faith in God and in magic, in religion and superstition, but their greatest belief of all is in
Extract from book:
"Constable Kenneth Yeoman of the Royal Ulster Constabulary lay on an iron bed in an upper room of the barracks.
His eyes were fixed on the ceiling.
Now and again he turned his head to glance at the space of dim night sky above the sandbags that covered the lower parts
of the window.
Early-morning patrols had been common of late, so he had come to bed early. Still he could not sleep. He was thinking of the problem
of his courtship.
After a time he swung on to one side and groped on the floor for cigarettes and matches. A cigarette between his lips, he cupped his hand about a matchbox
and made the least possible noise when striking the match - this so as not to wake Stewart, who slept in the
adjoining bed, or Hamilton, who lay stretched fully dressed on a couch in the corner.
He inhaled deeply, almost gratefully,
then send a smoke ring up into the semidarkness. Whenever he blew a smoke ring at Tuppence, the barracks terrier, the dog backed away, showing its teeth
and snapping viciously just short of the breaking smoke ring.
The girl, Patsy Hagarty, a farmer's daughter, lived over the border in the Republic. Yeoman's lips writhed about the cigarette
end as he recalled how the barrack's charwoman had once described such a girl: 'A polished, picked and painted Papist, a sworn
Roman and a true Fenian.'
The constable drew deeply on the cigarette; this girl represented everything his family opposed. Yet it seemed to him
that, in the unpredictable chemistry of mind and body, the girl and himself fitted each other well.
While she was in his arms the Orange drummers, their wrists bloodied from beating out a tattoo of discord, or the shut faces of the Catholics
as they watched a display of that force that was a steel-shod heel above them - both seemed powerless.
He had always dressed in mufti when he moved south to meet her. Their meetings had been by night; twice she had come across the Border to meet him;
they had gone to a cinema in Belfast.
The sense of latent antagonism made the courtship sweeter. He had thought that their relationship
was a secret; but a letter he had received from her that morning (the envelope was addressed to a friendly publican in a nearby border village) told him
that the word 'Traitor!' had been daubed in whitewash on her father's wall.
The countryside is talking, she had written."
About the author:zurück zur Übersicht
Bryan MacMahon was born in Listowel, Co Kerry in 1909. He has written novels, short stories, pageants, radio
features, plays and television scripts. His plays include The Bugle in the Blood (Dublin, The Abbey Theatre);
The Song of the Anvil (The Abbey Theatre); The Honey Spike (The Abbey Theatre, 1961); The Master; Jack Furey;
The Death of Biddy Early; The Time of the Whitethorn and The Gap of Life. His novels include Children of the
Rainbow and The Honey Spike. His collected stories include Red Petticoat and The Sound of Hooves (1985). His
other work includes his autobiography The Master, and The Talleystick (1994). A Final Fling will be published
posthumously by The Poolebeg Press, Dublin. A teacher all his life, he also wrote stories for children. Amongst
his awards are LL.D (hon.causa) National University of Ireland (1972). He was President of Irish P.E.N. and a
committee member of the Academy of Irish Letters. A member of Aosdána, he died in 1998.
THE HONEY SPIKE by Bryan MacMahon
Paperback 214 pages (May 4, 1989)
Used, (no markings etc. though)
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