Monday, September 28, 2009

The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane

This book deserves to be taken to a quiet, calm space so that readers can adequately focus on the story and the characters, regardless of the rest of their lives going on around them.

The Walking People is the story of three young Irish who immigrate to America in the 1960's. Michael, from a tinker family, decides he wants to try staying in one place. Johanna and Greta are sisters who have no discernible sustainable future in Ireland, and one of them dreams of the fancier, easier life America offers. And, of course, their lives in America turn out far different from the ideas they'd had.

Keane's writing is virtually flawless. Her scenes are seamless. Her characters and settings are rich, lush. It's kind of writing you want to describe with lists of adjectives.

This book made me miss having a clawfoot bathtub; it deserves that kind of "me time."*

I had one during my first year of teaching, and I'd take a leisurely bath every night, reading for about an hour and forgetting about grading and lesson plans. Plus, I thought it was important for my students to know that I thought reading was important enough to make time for; they knew how much I read because I loved talking books with them.


bermudaonion said...

I love immigrant stories and you've made this one sound fantastic! I can't wait to read it.

Jen - devourer of books said...

Oh, this sounds lovely, I may have to look for it.