Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Black Snow

We see the hard fields of Carnavan peopled by shadows, among ragwort yellow and the bones of a burnt barn. Author Paul Lynch tells a hard story here in taut, barbed-wire language.  Barnabas Kane returned to Ireland from the high landscape building in New York City with a wife.  He yearns to become one with the land again. The  land was never told anything about such a dream. Fire gutted the heart of  the farm with his cattle and old man soul of Mathew People. Now it is a ghost story, that barn like a beached whale, and God never moves in mysterious ways but in daylight and never flinching from the hardships he brings to Barnabas Kane and his family. His dog is named Cyclops, why not? A one-eyed seer who knew everything all along.

This is  the second book by Paul Lynch, young Dubliner carving his name out of cattle bone and clocks that note only how time is passing them by. A wonderful read for those who suffer through bad weather, long hours listening to clocks in their downpour of seconds, ticking away lives here in the Upper Peninsula! A hundred stars, at least for The Black Snow.

-- Russell Thorburn, first poet laureate in the Upper Peninsula
(His forthcoming book of poetry from Wayne State University Press, Made in  Michigan Series, is called Somewhere We'll Leave the World.)

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