Ursula Holden John Mellors

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John Mellors

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Cloud Catchers exploits several Irish stereotypes. There is the uncomfortable, dingy house, where nothing is ever repaired or replaced, a house where the nearest one can get to having a bath is to climb up and squat in the sink in a cold and gloomy outhouse. Then there are the two 'country girls', of the sort made famous by Edna O'Brien. (p. 130)

The rest of the book is a tragicomedy of errors….

The book is saved from being irritatingly Oirish by Ursula Holden's attractively brisk style. She writes at a sort of hop, skip and jump, moving quickly from one aspect of an event or person to another or swerving to an entirely different subject without signalling any change of direction. The result is a colourful mosaic of unexpected juxtapositions—and an atmosphere of scatty inconsequentiality which comes as a refreshing relief…. (p. 131)

John Mellors, "Dark Rosaleen," in London Magazine (© London Magazine 1980), Vol. 19, Nos. 9-10, December-January, 1979–80, pp. 128-32.∗