The connection between Ireland and France is forged once again in the smithy of art, culture and the days at the end of life.
‘She entered the house like a shadow … She was like a divine elixir: one drop for each of my thoughts. … I could feel the breath of the warrior, the Queen of Ireland, and it intoxicated me with the wind of hope, like noble wine.’
She is Maud Gonne, the muse of writer William Butler Yeats. Yeats here returns as a ghost, having been buried in southern France in January 1939 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Ten years later his remains are repatriated to Ireland. He emerges from his grave to recount his thwarted love for Maud, a story blending with the movement for Irish independence in which they each played an integral part.
Yeats’ ghost has suddenly appeared as diplomatic documents have come to light, casting doubt on the contents of the coffin brought back to Sligo for a state funeral. Where did the poet’s body go? Does he still hover ‘somewhere among the clouds above’? What remains of our loves and our deaths, if not their poetry?
A Guardian Most Anticipated Book of 2023
An Irish Times Most Anticipated Book of 2023
An Irish Independent Most Anticipated Book of 2023
PRAISE FOR SCATTERED LOVE
‘Maylis Besserie’s beautiful novel casts a brilliant light on life and love and death and what remains of us … The elegant prose and fluid translation have a balming, soothing quality. It is strange and fascinating to read Yeats’s sublimely ventriloquised voice, and Madeleine’s quest is absorbing, comedic, touching and true. The magic of Yeats has new life here.’ Donal Ryan
‘Scattered Love is a haunting and immersive read, written with the kind of lyricality and depth of tone appropriate for a novel infused with the presence of Yeats. Besserie is almost painterly in the way she employs words, drawing her readers deep into the story she’s telling. This is a poem of a novel; the perfect vehicle for capturing Yeats in all his rich complexity.’ Jan Carson
‘A truly beautiful literary novel from a wonderful storyteller.’ Joseph O’Connor
|Maylis Besserie, translated by Clíona Ní Ríordáin
|6 Jun 2023