All Will Be Well (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
John McGahern has long been regarded by scholars and critics as one of modern Ireland’s most important novelists, and with the publication of All Will Be Well, he enters the august company of other major Irish memorists such as W. B. Yeats (Autobiography, 1938) and Seán O’Faoláin (Vive Moi!, 1964). Readers have long known that events from McGahern’s lifethe death of his mother and abusiveness of his fatherhave provided raw material for his fiction, but this book reveals that the connection between life and fiction is even more profound.
McGahern recounts his growing up in the shadows of the Iron Mountains in rural County Leitrim, a region so poor and backward there are few radios and no indoor plumbing or central heating. Yet to a small boy, in the company of the mother he adores, such an otherwise unprepossessing place becomes wondrous and paradisal, and he recalls especially strolls along the country lanes, “There was a drinking pool for horses along the way, gates to houses, and the banks were covered with all kinds of wild flowers and vetches and wild strawberries. My mother named these flowers for me as we walked, and sometimes we stopped and picked them for the jamjars.”
Anything that threatens his pastoral idyllschool, an impatient priest, his obdurate fatheris a source of distraction or pain. McGahern describes in detail the dynamics of a profoundly dysfunctional family, with parents living apart,...
(The entire section is 1898 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
The Boston Globe, April 16, 2006, p. D7.
The Guardian, April 7, 2006, p. 23.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 24 (December 15, 2005): 1313.
New Statesman, September 19, 2005, p. 52.
The New York Review of Books 53, no. 5 (March 23, 2006): 32-34.
The New York Times 155 (February 18, 2006): B19.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (February 26, 2006): 21.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 47 (November 28, 2005): 34.
The Spectator, September 17, 2005, pp. 47-48.
The Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 2005, p. 26.
(The entire section is 55 words.)