Turlough O'Carolan was considered to be the last irish Bard. He lived in the 1600s, and was struck down with a disease that left him blind. His family were poor, but with the aid of a wealthy patron, he was able to become a harpist. Carolan supported himself by travelling about Ireland, playing and writing music for the wealthy. His music survives to this day.
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The book follows O'Carolan through the last days of his life, using the memories and letters of those who knew him best to map out his existence. This is not a pure biography - it is heavily based on the known facts, but Keenan has used his imagination to fill in the gaps, creating a work somewhere between biography and literature. It is a sublime piece of writing, skillfully constructive and amazingly emotive.
The review of this Book prepared by Bryn Pearson