Eilís Dillon Robert Bell - Essay

Robert Bell

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The gradual maturing of the young rebel [in Bold John Henebry], the passing of the bitterness with the years, and the development of the revolutionary fervour into a compassionate nobility are traced in a most masterly way, and establish the author more firmly than ever in the virtuoso class. Highly recommended for fifth and sixth forms.

Robert Bell, "Literature: 'Bold John Henebry'," in The School Librarian and School Library Review, Vol. 13, No. 3, December, 1965, p. 329.

Eilís Dillon is perfectly at home with the old, simple life on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland. In The Sea Wall she describes the tiny green islands criss-crossed by stone walls, the little white cottages, and the sturdy independent people who live there. It is a straightforward story of a tidal wave, which sweeps over the ruined sea wall and spoils the low-lying houses…. The big wave is described too prosaically: it has none of the menace and excitement it ought to have; but the … trip to the mainland is full of absorbing details

"Firm of Purpose," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1965; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 3328, December 9, 1965, p. 1133.

Eilis Dillon is a past master at writing about the islands off the Connemara coast. She has an understanding of the people and a respect for their dignity and traditions which is rare among contemporary writers. She never laughs at them, nor does she allow her characters to appear in comic situations. Her prose is wonderfully clear and simple…. Because of its sincerity and style [The Sea Wall] could be one of the best novels of 1965. Teenagers and adults alike will enjoy it and admire the integrity of its author.

"For Children from Ten to Fourteen: 'The Sea Wall'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 30, No. 1, February, 1966, p. 42.