Patrick Boyle

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Derek Mahon

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"In Adversity Be Ye Steadfast" is an entertaining if unkind caricature of a God-crazed Ulster Presbyterian farmer. The same story also appears in Mr. Boyle's latest collection, A View from Calvary. Boyle is a skilful writer, though not incapable of platitude …, [of sentimentality, and of coarsegrained simple-mindedness]. There is a vein of Irish machismo running right through his work which may put some readers off; although, from another point of view, this is merely an aspect of his principal [characters]…. [However, in this collection] Boyle surprises us with his moral delicacy and imaginative range.

Derek Mahon, "Wreaths of Turf-Smoke," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1976; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 3888, September 17, 1976, p. 1189.

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