The wild Atlantic coast of Ireland.
One question: who are we without the people who love us?
Sis Cotter has lived her whole life in a small house by her beloved beach. Here, she grew up, reared her family, and buried her husband. Now her children are far away and, in three days, her house will be taken from her.
Next door, Lydia has withdrawn from her husband, her friends, her life. She watches the sea as her own private penance for a wrong she can never put right.
Peter’s best friend is dying, and his long-time foster mother is slowly forgetting who he is. Adrift without his two anchors, and struggling with the ethics of displacing people for a living, he looks for something to remind him of who he is and who he wants to be.
Winter People is a story of forgiveness, resilience, and the power of the sea to unlock what we are most afraid to say.
What can I say about Winter People other than beautiful, tender, emotive and utterly enthralling.
A small Irish coastal community, three characters that dwelled on its outer edges, the sea their outlook it’s ebb and flow in sync with their emotions and feelings.
Sis, Murphy’s main character was the one that captivated the most, her faithful elderly dog Laddie stole my heart. Here was a woman who nursed her husband to his death, raised three children and bravely and stoically approached the next stage of her life. Murphy’s descriptions of her arthritic bones, her creaky stiff muscles as she cycled into town, as she shuffled along the beach we’re just wonderful. What was even more wonderful were her thoughts, so vividly captured by Murphy as she considered her life, her parenting skills, her willingness to forgive, to accept her lot.
Sis’s, neighbour Lydia lived in splendid isolation in the newly refurbished blue house. She was the epitome of self flagellation, as she shut herself away from her husband and her friends determined to punish herself for a wrong doing. The large windows overlooking the sea were her windows on the world, the telephone and email there to stop eyes looking upon her, apportioning blame that was her due, her life’s task to wallow in. Whilst you empathised you also felt irritated, wanted her to let her husband in, take comfort in his willingness to help, to love and protect.
Peter, was almost on the periphery, but no less important in the novel, raised in a foster home, his birth mother drowned in drugs and drink. Murphy built a wall around him, impenetrable to the grief of his fosters mums dementia, his best friends final dying days. Girlfriends came and went as he failed to commit, to let them in and his job evicting people from their homes seemed to add to his general persona.
It all sounds very gloomy and in a way it was, but Murphy gave us chunks of light, of memories that were happy and carefree. It didn’t make the novel less enjoyable in fact it only enhanced the quality of Murphy’s narrative, her character’s emotions so raw, that the reader couldn’t help but invest in their lives, to hope the future seemed that little bit brighter, more hopeful.
Winter People was exemplary, touching, and just brilliant.
I would like to thank Legend Times for a copy of Winter People to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Gráinne grew up in rural west Cork, Ireland. At university she studied Applied Psychology and Forensic Research. In 2011 she moved with her family to Brussels for 5 years. She has now returned to West Cork, working as a self-employed language editor specialising in human rights and environmental issues.