Set in a border county just after the Irish Civil War, The Ferret Fancier tells the story of Simon Green, a boy in tune with nature, ‘asking himself to be himself without knowing how to be.’
‘A Minor masterpiece’ New York Times
Set in a border county just after the Irish Civil War, The Ferret Fancier tells the story of Simon Green, a boy in tune with nature, ‘asking himself to be himself without knowing how to be.’ Simon is sensitive, full of undiscovered fears and raw temptations, confused and disturbed by Irish history, tortured by young sexuality and by the simmering contentions in a farming community torn by sectarianism and poverty.
The novel traces his complex relationships with a ferret which hadn’t even the grace of fear and with a cast of finely drawn characters - the tyrannical schoolmaster, Rainey; clubfooted Thubby Knight, obsessed with sex in all its guises, filled with ultimately pathetic bravado; with Miss Gibson, Simon’s first love and first betrayer; and, above all perhaps, with the place itself in whose fecund landscape Simon finds his only consolations.
This book is a kind of rural Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which nature replaces the church as the force that drives the young man to his destiny ... Although he is a born nature writer, his real strength is the creation of characters and situations.
'a rich and deeply compassionate novel, lyrical and down to earth in turn ... the whole texture is full of energy and sensitivity and colour.'
'this fresh, original book should be acknowledged as a minor masterpiece.'