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Description - Silver Linings by Martin Fletcher

Northern Ireland has made headlines around the world for three decades. The province has become synonymous with conflict, terrorism and tortuous efforts to forge peace. But what is life there really like? In this enchanting and highly original book Martin Fletcher presents a portrait of Northern Ireland utterly at odds with its dire international image. He paints a compelling picture of a place caught in a time warp since the 1960s, of a land of mountains, lakes and rivers where customs, traditions and old-world charm survive, of an incredibly resourceful province that has given the world not just bombs and bullets but the Titanic, the tyre and the tractor, a dozen American presidents, two prime ministers of New Zealand and a Hindu god. He meets an intelligent, fun-loving, God-fearing people who may do terrible things to each other but who could not be more welcoming to outsiders. He describes a land of awful beauty, a battleground of good and evil, a province populated by saints and sinners that has yet to be rendered bland by the forces of modernity.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349112510
ISBN-10: 0349112517
Format: Paperback
(195mm x 130mm x 21mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Silver Linings by Martin Fletcher

Book Reviews - Silver Linings by Martin Fletcher

US Kirkus Review » A fast-paced tour of the six counties of Northern Ireland. In 1997, British journalist Fletcher ("Almost Heaven", not reviewed) was assigned by the "Times "of London to cover the peace talks between Irish Protestants and Catholics. While his family lived safely in Belfast's suburbs, he criss-crossed the country. He begins along the east coast, where the population is declining despite the natural beauty and relative peace. Donaghadee, "a town as pretty as its name," has lost its seaside tourist trade to the inexpensive beaches of Spain with their guaranteed sunshine. The eerie Mourne Mountains, which inspired C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, have a man-made 20-mile stone walkway at their base. Fletcher has a taste for the rich and famous. He visits Van Morrison's modest childhood home in East Belfast. He interviews touring flutist James Galway, who fled the Troubles to settle in Switzerland. At the Portora Royal School, he views portraits of Oscar Wilde and 1923 cricket-squad member Samuel Beckett. Inland, Fletcher finds unique Irish activities. In Portadena, he listens to large Protestant men beat 40-pound Lambeg drums, trying to pick up subtle differences in their resonances. In Armagh, he follows two road-bowling matches, during which men roll and spin 28-ounce iron balls from town to town in as few throws as possible. He goes eel fishing, a traditionally Catholic occupation, on Lough Neagh; the prized catch is frozen and shipped to connoisseurs in Holland and Germany. Few pages pass without reference to the Troubles. While the peace accord of Good Friday 1998 seems to be holding, mothers remember their murdered sons and husbands, communities mourn their lost children, and the wounded heal from devastating injuries. Lovely poetry from the famous and the obscure conveys the Irish heartache. Innumerable anecdotes, scenic vistas, and local events, mostly interesting, punctuated by horrific car-bomb explosions. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Martin Fletcher

Martin Fletcher arrived in Northern Ireland in 1997 after seven years as Washington Correspondent of THE TIMES. His previous book, ALMOST HEAVEN WAS SHORTLISTED FOR THE 1999 THOMAS COOK TRAVEL BOOK AWARD. He is now European Correspondent of THE TIMES.

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