'The young, for all their glory, are desperate, like the Florentines in plague-time.'
The Crooked Cross tells the dramatic story of a village in the south west of Ireland as it endures a prolonged drought. As the stink rises, and the inhabitants backbite, fight, lust and tell stories, the young girls with life in their veins, and the broad-shouldered young men look at their future in Ireland with dismay.
In The Florentines we follow Gulliver Stone who has left Ireland to go to an English university. There he studies mythology, falls in love, engages in Hoemric fights, takes part in Ban the Bomb demonstrations and ultimately returns home, having come of age in a strange place.
Originally published in the 1960s, renowned poet Brendan Kennelly celebrates the energy of youth -- and laments the tragedy of that energy being stifled.
'Brendan Kennelly is one of Ireland's best-loved writers... The Crooked Cross is a lively, episodic book... [The Florentines] explores with Kennelly's characteristic wit -- and understanding -- the other side of emigration... Laughter is never far away in these entertaining books, but always, among the pints and the songs and the wisecracks, there runs a deeper, darker note.' John Wyse Jackson, The Irish Catholic'
'...this book couples two boisterous, beautiful novels told with great compassion... Kennelly reveals the monsters and heroes in all of us.' Irish Times'