Ursula Holden John Naughton

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John Naughton

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Like many people who have lived in Dublin at one time or another in their lives, Ursula Holden seems to have become more Irish than the Irish themselves. At any rate she has mastered the fictional genre which so annoys critics of Edna O'Brien, Desmond Hogan and their romantic ilk. [The Cloud Catchers] is exclusively preoccupied with the hackneyed themes of rural squalor, sex, religion and what the blurb calls 'the passage of untested innocence to the darker world of experience'. It tells of an Irish girl's childhood on a farm, her journey to London in search of romantic fulfilment, her subsequent enlightenment at the hands of a cad, and eventual return to the farm where it all began. In other words, The Cloud Catchers is a bit of th'oul mixture as before: wistfulness masquerading as brutal realism, Edna O'Brien without the lyricism. (p. 759)

John Naughton, "Miffed in Ireland" (© British Broadcasting Corp. 1979; reprinted by permission of John Naughton), in The Listener, Vol. 101, No. 2613, May, 1979, pp. 758-59.