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Groundwork [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Robert Welch
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Mai 1998
The past -- our own, our family's, our country's -- is deeply implanted within us all. Nowhere is this more true than in Ireland, and in his latest novel, Robert Welch calls up voices bearing witness to some of Ireland's key historic events that continue to distort and disturb the Irish psyche.

Focusing on the province of Munster, in southern Ireland, and panning back and forth over some four hundred years, from 1586 to 1956, Welch chronicles the family histories of the Condons, Herberts, Holmes, and the O'Dwyers. He focuses in on periods of great national disruption -- the Elizabethean conquest, the Famine, emigration, the struggle for Irish independence. And he lets his characters speak in their own words, to tell us how they and their families fared through these events. And so we hear from the Condons, from Con, the gardener and Cistercian monk and from Patsy, originally a farmer in 19th century Cork, later the owner of a music shop in New York; and from the Holmes, Elliott and Morgan, the merchant wholesalers; as well as the O'Dwyers, the Herberts, and the 17th-century Gaelic scholar, Geoffrey Keating, Lodowick Riche, the Elizabethan planter, and Fergal O'Dowd, Fenian in New York and trade union organizer.


  • Taschenbuch: 202 Seiten
  • Verlag: Blackstaff Pr Ltd; Auflage: Reprint (Mai 1998)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0856406082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856406089
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,6 x 13,8 x 1,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (5 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.498.285 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

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How does one tell the story of a complicated place like Ireland? If you're a writer such as James Michener, you might start with a description of the geological forces that formed the island, move forward through the plant and animal life that developed there, and then wind your way through several millennia and a couple thousand pages of fictionalized history before ending in the present. If you're Robert Welch, however, you compress both the events and the ethos of the past four centuries into a mere 200 pages--and succeed in capturing the essence of Ireland better than any tome 10 times the length could hope to do.

Groundwork is a most impressive novel--the kind that pulls off a trick of astounding difficulty without breaking a sweat. In this tale of two families in County Munster, Welch ricochets between centuries, mixes it up with 22 major characters and evokes the tragedy of Anglo-Irish relations and the even greater tragedy of the Irish people's relations with each other in a masterful, highly readable style. Ireland's bardic tradition is alive and well in Robert Welch, and Groundwork is a sterling example of the art.


Set in the province of Munster in the deep south of Ireland, this novel covers a family's survival, moving back and forth in time between the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland, the Great Famine of the 19th century and the struggle for Irish independence at the beginning of this century.

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And terrific! With Groundwork, Robert Welch distills into one heady brew four hundred years of Anglo-Irish conflict and the historical relationships between the Condon and O'Dwyer families. He does this by presenting four- or five-page stories of individuals and events at seemingly random dates and stirring them together. Some stories are in the first person, giving an effervescence to the characters and an immediacy to events, even very ancient events. Other stories are in the third person, providing color and allowing the reader to "store" the information for future use. The individual stories are very short, the cast of characters is very large (necessitating a dramatis personae at the beginning of the book), the time frame is huge, there is no real "plot," in the traditional sense, and time here is cumulative, rather than linear.
Despite all this, Groundwork is not difficult reading. Somehow Welch manages to make it all work, and even a casual reader with little or no background or interest in the history of the Irish people will find it absolutely fascinating and often thrilling. On the most superficial level, the daily lives of the Condon and O'Dwyer families in the 20th century capture the reader, who can identify with them and share their tribulations--a girl who finds herself pregnant and abandoned, a son who becomes a monk, a father whose children die during an epidemic, a wife who finds that her husband has been unfaithful.
Welch is not writing a melodrama here, however. These events are related to the ongoing history of the Irish people, with some entries here dating back to the Elizabethan period.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A complex history churned to a mystifying story. 4. Dezember 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Welch has grabbed the most complex Irish histories and squeezed them into 202 pages of excellence!.
EVERYTHING is covered.. This book is definately a must!, even for a historian his or her self!.
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Von Ein Kunde
An AMAZING, enthralling, terrifying, and realistic account of the tragedy and beauty of two families in County Munster. Robert welch transforms a true Irishmans history and ancestry into a mind-blowing piece of, what is sure to become, an artifact of uncensored and factual Irish belief and history...
This book MUST be read, the experience is too much to miss...
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Pure Irish 28. Oktober 1998
Von "tygeene"
Groundwork was an uplifting experience. The brief chapters danced around the individual characters and their families hastening me to forge on through page after page searching for more details in this intricate web. Welch has captured the Irish in style, culture, mannerism and authenticity right down to the bone. His colorful way of phrasing sentences transforms one right into a room, place, situation or even, a person's skin. You can smell the rashers sizzling and you will also feel the sharp pain of an empty belly. I yearned to reach the conclusion of this novel but you will find that there is no "real" end to the saga. If you're Irish in any range of ancestry, read this book. You won't regret it.
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Von Ein Kunde
Welch explores in great detail the truth in Irish history. Realistic and fascinating sketches about food and mealtimes. This book explores the entirety of Irish history in 200 pages. Definately a must
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