Mill for Grinding Old People Young by Glenn Patterson

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There might be room here for weighty thoughts on history, but Patterson's too wily for that. Elegies are for people, not for eras.
-Guardian

Synopsis

In the cold dawn of Christmas Day 1897, Gilbert Rice, 85 years old and with failing health, recounts his journey into manhood in a city on the cusp of great change.

Belfast in the 1830s was a city in flux. Industrialisation had led to an increase in commerce and the rapid swell of the population as workers flocked to the newly created jobs. Gilbert, a young man with prospects, begins work with the Ballast Office, looking after Belfast Port. Beneath the shadow of the Harland & Wolff shipyard Gilbert explores this ever expanding and exciting city whilst becoming aware of the political undertones and the sectarian tensions that still brew beneath its respectable veneer. In a city that still resonates with the legacy of the 1798 Rebellion Gilbert begins to question the injustices that he sees. When he meets Maria, a Polish barmaid, he is drawn into a love affair that will drive him to make a stand against those he sees as harming the city that he loves.

 

About Glenn Patterson

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Glenn Patterson is the author of seven previous novels and a memoir Once Upon a Hill: Love in Troubled Times. He has written plays for Radio 3 and Radio 4 and is the co-writer of Good Vibrations (BBC Films), based on the life of Belfast punk impresario Terri Hooley, which is due for release in 2012. A collection of his journalism, for among others the Guardian, Sunday Times and Irish Times, was published in 2006 as Lapsed Protestant. He lives in Belfast.Glenn Patterson is the author of seven previous novels and a memoir Once Upon a Hill: Love in Troubled Times. He has written plays for Radio 3 and Radio 4 and is the co-writer of Good Vibrations (BBC Films), based on the life of Belfast punk impresario Terri Hooley, which is due for release in 2012. A collection of his journalism, for among others the Guardian, Sunday Times and Irish Times, was published in 2006 as Lapsed Protestant. He lives in Belfast.
 
Published March 13, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 272 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Eoin McNamee on Apr 13 2012

There might be room here for weighty thoughts on history, but Patterson's too wily for that. Elegies are for people, not for eras.

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