Her mother, who wrote vivid versions of old Irish folk tales, once said of the Irish Civil War: 'In those days... fear kept you from sleeping, but also from getting fat or bored.'
Her father was Director of Publicity for the IRA during that savage conflict. He made bombs. A brilliant writer, his first book of stories was banned and he was summoned by his old IRA comrades to be court-martialled for writing it. He became one of Ireland's most celebrated writers and a radical dissident during the 1940s, challenging Church and State for their betrayal of the people's needs. His affairs with Elizabeth Bowen and many other women were betrayals of a more intimate kind. This was the backdrop to Julia O'Faolain's childhood.
Her life is filled with great characters: Frank O'Connor, Paul Henry, Garret Fitzgerald, Hubert Butler, Patrick Kavanagh and Richard Ellman; and later, in their villas outside Florence, Harold Acton and Violet Trefusis, along with a cast of prim communists and raffish reactionary aristocrats.
This is a book about being an outsider looking in, a trespasser in Ireland and in other countries - France, Italy in the late 1950s, the West Coast during the turbulent sixties - and also in other lives, the permanent temptation of the creative writer.
About Julia O'FaolainSee more books from this Author
...O'Faolain writes with a conversational clarity and despite claiming to be more interested in other people's behaviour than her own, she is adept at bringing her memories briefly, brightly into focus...Read Full Review of Trespassers: A Memoir | See more reviews from Guardian