After reading Donal Ryan’s Strange Flowers, I was pleasantly surprised by how he had managed to present everyday life and drama in such a gripping way, making things seem more “bigger”, more important than was expected. In a way, that’s the truth about life. (I was about to write something but started confusing myself. It goes something like “the important things may not be as important as they seem, and the less important things may have of greater importance than we imagine”, but also not really, because sometimes the important things are important, if you see what I mean).
If I were to describe the plot of The Queen of Dirt Island in a simple manner, it would be “four generations of women wield unyielding support each other as they navigate through the bumpy chapter’s of life”. Of course, this is just a basic description, and so much more happens in the book.
The author was capable of giving the idea of a tight-knit perspective or world through his writing. It suited the story’s setting, which was in the (fairly) quiet Irish countryside. Whatever lies beyond this boundary is treated as something foreign, as a new adventure, or as something that feels larger than life.
Throughout the book, it feels that the reader is progressing through the same journey as Saoirse, whose perspective is the one we share for the majority of the book. The occasional switch between her perspective and other characters’ perspectives are apt because it shows us what we need to know to gain a clearer overview of the occurring events.
While we see things through Saoirse’s point-of-view most of the time, it is the two older women, Mother (or Eileen) and Nana (or Mary), who link the four generations of women together. They are the pillars of Saoirse’s world, the ones who will never abandon her or cease their support for her.
There are some returning characters from Strange Flowers, but they are not quite the centre of attention in this book. The four women, Saoirse, Mother, Nana, and Pearl, are given the limelight. Overall, all characters are well fleshed-out and completely imaginable. All of them have their own strengths, flaws, interests, and motivations.
What makes this book tug at my heartstrings is the themes of love and womanhood. The book is focused on the relationships between Saoirse and the people around her, and her journey of self-discovery as she grows older. It illustrates that while everything changes, what remains long lasting and permanent is the love and trust these women have for each other.
Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Netgalley and Transworld Publishers for the chance to read and review this ARC!
1 thought on “The Queen of Dirt Island Continues Strange Flowers’ Theme of Love”
[…] personalities as well as the way womanhood is portrayed. As it is in my other recent read The Queen of Dirt Island, both manage to display both conventional and modern beliefs of what a woman were expected to be, […]