This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Isle of Skye by Orla Broderick ('free' to borrow from

Orla Broderick, from the Isle of Skye, wrote this book (The January Flower) which to my untrained ears sounds like poetry, that even I can understand. Listen to her read 18 minutes of her work and see what you think.  

Unlike the link I sent you yesterday, this book is NOT free to BUY, but IF you are a Prime member of (an option they have for paying an annual fee to get free delivery & other benefits), you can BORROW this book as frequently as once per month with NO DUE DATE from the Amazon lending library.  I am not sure I completely understand it, but I expected to get the book on my Kindle & without pay anything.  OR if you are not a Prime member you can buy it for $4.75 USDLR.  

BE CAREFUL.  In trying to figure out how to borrow the book, I just BOUGHT it.   Now it tells me I can lend it to anybody.  I lent it to Bridie. I really don't know what's going on.  I got an email from saying I purchased the book, but I haven't been able to download yet (unusual, because in the past I have had instant downloads).  When I went to manage my Kindle account on Amazon, it showed that The January Flower was on loan (I assume they mean on loan to me, not my lending it to Bridie) & it was "pending acceptance".  It probably is still a good buy at $4.75 (sour grapes), but I am completely confused.  If anybody can explain this to me, I will be grateful, but if you try to 'borrow' it BE CAREFUL.  (UPDATE: I found out why I can't download the book yet, because I have loaned it someone else (Bridie) - just like I can't loan a paperback to someone & read it too.  I guess I really did buy the book.  I got an email from Amazon showing my purchase.  So again, if you want to borrow this book from Amazon, BE CAREFUL.

I checked & was told that the Kindle version was not available in the US, but I suspect the same deal MIGHT be available in Ireland OR England + the other countries England occupies.  My friend & cousin, Bridie, will check this out & I will update you.

Below is a review of this book, I found on line.  At the bottom of the review is a link to the author reading her work.  I had a little trouble with that link, so here's one I know works:

Thanks to Gobnait for her recommendation to this author.

The January Flower [Kindle Edition]

Orla Broderick 

Digital List Price:$4.75 What's this? 
Print List Price:$14.50
Kindle Purchase Price:$4.75
Prime Members:$0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle) Prime Eligible
When Purchased, You Save:$9.75 (67%)

  • Includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

For Kindle Device Owners

Borrow this book for free on a Kindle device with your Prime membership. Buy a Kindle today to borrow this book at no cost.

With Prime, Kindle owners can choose from over 180,000 titles to borrow for free – including all seven Harry Potter books and more than 100 current and former New York Times bestsellers. Borrow a book as frequently as once per month, with no due dates. Learn more about Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

The January Flower by Orla Broderick. Amazon U.K. and Amazon U.S.

Where to begin to review The January Flower by Orla  Broderick?  Broderick has written a hymn to the life of her "little snowdrop," her daughter, and a hymn to a sort of traveller life on the Isle of Skye. 

It is full of the most lyrical and beautiful prose – Irish prose – not Scottish. The Hi-Arts Council embraces her and she did study at Moniack Mhór, but I claim her for the Irish.  One friend has compared her to Dylan Thomas.  I said to that friend after hearing Broderick's recording of "The Lost Chapter" that a tick will never again be just a tick.  

The protagonist, Mary, desires with a fierce single-mindedness to escape her dreary council house (subsidized housing for her U.S. readers), and neighborhood, populated by snarling tenants and drug abusers. She wants a better life for her snow drop, her Angel.  To that end, she seduces a kilt-wearing Dutch man (the antagonist) one afternoon and the long journey back to her own mother and her roots begins.  Along the way, she got far more (or less) than she bargained for: lost her daughter, lost herself.  She meets Gertrude (mother of Walter and Winne) and Elsie who "had husbands and children but discarded them, left all that life for the sake of a dream. Kith and kin were forsaken for boggy tracts of land and sweet solitude. Their devotion to Mother Earth is their vocation. They know the old ways and yet they see far into the future." Mary lives in a caravan and sips dew from spider webs and dances in the moonlight.  You will hear Woof, their dog. You will smell the kelp. You will see the sea birds soar high and far. You will sense the fairies and learn of the giants that once peopled the Isles. You will meet the fairies who live in the rocks. 

The Ancestors are ever-present. Broderick has done something unusual in modern literature. She has created the duality of the deities and humans, akin to those in  the Odyssey in a strange way. She has written of the same  xenia, a Greek concept encompassing the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home.  She evokes the Tuatha Dé Danann who came from heaven, landing in a dense cloud upon the coast of Ireland. She sees Danú not Cassiopeia in the stars. Her Mary lives in a dual world somewhere between the bright light of heaven and the prosaic gritty sands of earth. 

She tells her Angel:

"Irky and Oompi were lovers. They sat in the sky and shone for each other. Centuries of smiling light, night after night. Side by side they glittered. One night a fast comet came and knocked them apart. They fell out of their orbit and away from each other. Down down down they fell to Earth. Their lights were shattered. Scattered a hundred million times all over this planet. Tiny shards of the brightest sparks fell into the people and the animals. Each one of us has a tiny piece of a star inside, to help us glow. We come from Light, my Angel. We Love and we love forever and ever. I will love you for centuries and even when we are apart I will love you. Moon, stars and fire bounce off ancient rock." 

So this is an Odyssey, a woman's odyssey, and like Odysseus, Mary ends up where she started: in the arms of her own mammy, scarred but wiser for her journey. One woman faces the goddesses and finds her way  home.

You can hear her read via SoundCloud 


 in a voice as low and resonant as the sea and her story of Drumlie Dub will wash over you.


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