Keith Ridgway Introduction

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Keith Ridgway The Long Falling

Ridgway is an Irish novelist and short story writer.

Ridgway's debut novel, The Long Falling (1998), opens with an introduction to Grace Quinn, the wife of a physically brutal man, and the mother of an estranged gay son. Grace, a middle-aged Englishwoman living in rural Ireland, realizes that she cannot continue to bear living with the alcohol-laden abuse of her husband. Her husband beats her nightly, and blames her for the death of their first son who accidentally died as an infant. Grace decides to run over her husband in the same automobile that he drunkenly used to kill an innocent girl. Grace then flees the farmland to stay with her son in Dublin.

The Long Falling has been reviewed as a culturally, politically, and morally complex novel, that raises important issues and asks appropriate questions, but doesn't necessarily offer solutions. Critics have commented positively on Ridgway's skill in employing actual contemporary, sociopolitical events to add dimensional depth to the characters' emotional development and discovery. The narrative is told in the third person, with shifting perspectives; the shifts are identified by chapters entitled by the name of the characters whose point of view is being presented. Most critics agree on the clarity of Ridgway's stylistics. Reviewer Jan Blodgett has noted, "Writing in a clear prose style that never loses its balance, Ridgway captures the bleakness and passion of contemporary Ireland."