The Past: A Novel
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The Past is the story of Rene, this unexpected child, as told by her own child as he searches for the truth about his parents’ mysterious and romantic history. Through the reminiscences of his mother's friend, the pieces of the past begin to fit together into a delicate mosaic of the truth. What really happened in that seaside town? Why does the past seem to hold so many secrets?
Set over twenty-five years, travelling from Cornwall to Dublin and the Irish Provinces, The Past is a beautiful novel of love and longing, created by one of the preeminent artists of our time.
hers he had attended since their marriage and the last he would ever attend. The set would be built on a circular rostrum, like a merry-go-round, with a representation of the interior of a peasant cottage on one side and the Lord Viceroy’s drawing-room on the other. He would watch from the back row during rehearsals, his wife standing in a shawl with a bunch of flowers by the door of the peasant cottage. And then, in a sudden transformation which always amazed him, the set would slowly slide,
railway was first built, taking villas by the NEIL JORDAN 91 bowling green, the young Jewish daughters walking on the prom, plump and olive-skinned. That’s before the droves of Scots and their cheap weekends. But then the story of houses and towns is decay. From the heyday of the Jewish girls and the first Great Southern line. Would the priest have transgressed years before, would he have dared call on Vance without an invitation, without coach and four to take him up the long drive with its
that Mr Vance has intentions other than the sampling of her excellent high teas. She has the table spread when they arrive and they are the only weekend samplers. A widower who seems of her own persuasion, with one son cared for only by a housemaid. She has laid out her choicest dainties, cakes that are whorled with icing, cream puffs and apple-and-raspberry tarts. This Protestant gentleman, though, eats hardly anything, stares through the laurels at the haze above the sea. For today could be the
between Luke and Rene is somewhat blurred and because of that even more like a miniature town, a miniature world. They are both staring at me now from the print as they must have stared at you, and Luke’s face seems to express some resentment towards me, as father would to son, but perhaps I am only interpreting that as resentment in the light of what I know happened later. And Rene is looking at me with a smile which seems to contain whatever is between us two. The chair is swaying in the next
dictionary turning and turning, rustling even now over the plastic seats. Those lessons must have been just an excuse for the tall man who met her on hard times just after her mother’s death. He felt the urge to help her and also the urge to possess. Lili thinks so, Father Beausang imagines so and I imagine so too. But then we are all faintly jealous. It is through jealousy that we draw near her and because of jealousy, perhaps, that we never reach her. I have no doubt that his first instinct was