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 PattersonSee more books from this Author
There might be room here for weighty thoughts on history, but Patterson's too wily for that. Elegies are for people, not for eras.Read Full Review of Mill for Grinding Old People ... | See more reviews from Guardian