The Naming of Eliza Quinn, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is an extraordinarily haunting novel, inspired by a true story. In the late 1960s, in the hollow of an ancient oak tree beyond a derelict cottage in Cork, were found the bones of a three-year-old girl.

It was thought that they dated back to the time of the great potato famine of the mid 1800s. The bones were discovered by an American woman, who had inherited the cottage which had lain empty and broken for forty years.

Local searches reveal that the house had originally belonged to The Quinns.

Eliza Quinn was their baby. This is a story that speaks of generations and of landscapes: abandoned villages, famine graves, old potato ridges sinking back into the earth, traces of a population that fell by two and a half million in less than ten years. It is also about hunger, both physical and emotional. But above all, it is the story of the Quinn family. And it is Carol Birch's tour de force. 'Deeply rooted humanity and highly intelligent understanding of the simulataneous complexity and simplicity of individual lives' Alex Clark.





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A well-written, engaging story, perhaps overly reliant on old Irish stereotypes like central characters being away with the fairies and unwed mothers being packed off to England. The story is broken into four parts of unequal length, and I found that the third was so long and convoluted that I'd forgotten what happened in the first part. The plot itself was interesting and fast-moving, and made for an enjoyable read.

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