Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Novel set in Galway

22nd December 2022

The Home Scar by Kathleen McMahon, novel set in Galway.

Novel set in Galway

I was tempted by this novel when I saw it was billed as a good read for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Strout and Tessa Hadley,

This is quite a gentle read, the story of two siblings, with the same mother who meet up in Ireland to revisit a childhood summer in the early 1980s. Cassie lives with her beau in Mexico and Christo (in fact Jupiter Christo) lives in Cambridge and works as an academic.

They are now in middle age and older than their mother when she died, which is a sobering thought. They serendipitously find the cottage in which they stayed during that Summer and little has changed and they are also able to rent it once again.

As they talk and explore, they have very different views of their mother. Cassie spend more time with her and has distinct feelings of antipathy towards her. Christo is positive with his memories of his mother, less so with those of his father with whom he spent awkward time. His father was famous and Christo suffered with his grandiosity and the dynamics of the new family. I would have been really interested to understand more about the dynamics of the parenting because they are fundamental to the full picture of the unfolding story. It is almost as though the author has shied away from exploring the psychological impact of their mother’s ‘free child’ – in other words oftentimes irresponsible and neglectful – attitude to life. Rather than the 1980s the vibe was distinctly more 1960s.

Cassie and Christo have come to this area, lured by the exposure of a forest, usually covered by sea, a phenomenon of which they were aware when they were first in the area. Christo is more than curious to take a look.

They also run into a friend who was important them during that and of course life has moved on considerably, as they discover.

The story is told by a gifted author who has a really lovely and fluid writing style. The story itself perhaps felt just a little lacklustre at times, there was so much that could have made this a really wonderful exploration of family dynamics, memory and childhood experience. It felt like a veil lay over the story but then perhaps that was an intentional authorial choice, given that memory fades over time and things can often be mis-remembered and reformulated to suit.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

Join Team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join TripFiction and take part in our weekly GIVEAWAYS!

Other benefits of membership include:

   Receiving an entertaining monthly newsletter

   Adding new books to the site

   Reviewing books you have read