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The Naming of Eliza Quinn

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 for40 years. Local searches reveal ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Virago UK (first published August 3rd 2005)
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Valerie
Carol Birch is a British novelist who was born in 1951 and attended Keele University, England. She currently lives in Lancaster, England with her family.She is the author of eleven novels and won the 1988 David Higham Award for the Best First Novel of the Year for Life in the Palace, However, The Naming of Eliza Quinn was the first of her novels I had read. It is not a book that I would normally pick up, but it was book of the month for the book group that I attend in the Village Library.

The no
...more
Kirsten
This book was quite misleading. The first part makes you think you are reading some mismatched-love-story with a hint of a historical death mystery: American woman decamps to old Ireland to take up residence in an old family house, finds some ancient bones in a tree, has an affair. So far, so good.

Then all of a sudden the story shifts to 1846 and the Great Famine. It tells the story of the people in the area where the above house is sited, as seen from the pov of Eliza Vesey, who is clearly a b
...more
Karen
I wish I had 'found' Carol Birch sooner as I have a feeling I have missed out on a super storyteller who can really get the reader to engage with the world she creates. The mix of social history, family secrets, and mystery blended to give a tale of depth and character. The 'Irish potato famine' is one of those historical 'facts' that you learn about in school but this really gave an indication of what it actually meant for those who 'lived' through it. The strange mix of Eliza Vesey's pagan cha ...more
Debby
I stumbled across this story by chance on display at my local library and was so glad I decided to read it. A very high quality read, which manages to expertly combine fictional characters and a terrible, though very real, historical context. I was reminded of this novel having watched Julie Walters trace her ancestors on 'Who Do You Think You Are' I certainly will be looking out for other novels by Carol Birch.
Angie Swain
A high class read...Ireland during one of the potato famines, a feud which reaches across the whole village and passes down through generations. My first Carol Birch book, and not the last
Leeanne Thwaite
Loved the style in which this book was written. Can not imagin how hard it must have been to live through the potato famine. This powerful read transports you back in time to the potato famine of the 1840. With layer upon layer of family history unravelled. You are left experiencing the torment and heart break these families faced. Carol Birch manages to write from several perspectives allowing the reader some insight into this complicated family feud.

” I could not put it down ! “

Jen
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.
Roberto
This was the first novel I read by irish author Carol Birch but certainly not the last. Set mainly during the Irish Potato Famine , you know this is not a uplifting novel with its themes of poverty, despair and hunger. I liked how the author managed to create the ambiguous personality of Eliza Vesey which is one of those characters not at all likeable but yet you care about her....
Tom Johnson
as the book progressed so did my rating - 3 to 4 to 5 - Carol Birch is a first rate author - creative storyline - gripping description of how wretched life and death can be. found the book impossible to put down. loved the otherworldly feel. I should read it again -later
Anne
Set on the west coast of Ireland in 1969, 1900 and the late 1840s - as the Irish potato famine, the great hunger, took hold.
I enjoyed the story set in the 1840s more than the more recent part of the book.
Well written and quite ghostly at times, it brought a tear to my eye.
Victoria
If you like happy endings, this isn't your book. But there's nothing much to celebrate about the Great Potato Famine. A beautifully written book that illustrates the gut-wrenching decisions the Irish had to make to survive.
Leena
Describes the history of Ireland from 1960's back to the potato famine of 1840's through the fates of women of one family in rural Ireland. If you're interested in life in Ireland, I'd recommend the work by Roddy Doyle, instead.
Loranne
Reading this novel is a life-changing experience. Carol Birch seems to know more about humanity than any of us ever can. How does she do it? I can't wait to read another of her books.
Melissa
The book tells the story of two families - their feuds, relationships, hardships and secrets - in a small Irish village from the Potato Famine up until the 1960s. Worth a read.
Debbie
Only read half so not a fair rating but did not find this book entertaining enough to finish...quite a suprise considering I loved Scapegallows by this same author.
Sue
Took me a long while to read but I did enjoy it. The characters didn't draw me into the book but once started, I had to finish it - slowly!

Laura Morwood
Slow start, interesting middle about life during the famine in the south of Ireland. End too slow and boring. Had to speed read to finish.
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as lookedinto-decidedagainst
Shelves: spring-2012
Looked into, decided against.
Olivia
Haunting and atmospheric, you can feel the cold and the rain
Cathy
Loved it! So sinister
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Carol Birch was born in Manchester and attended Keele University. The author of eleven novels, she won the 1988 David Higham Award for the Best First Novel of the Year for Life in the Palace, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize with The Fog Line in 1991, and she was long-listed for the 2003 Booker Prize for Turn Again Home. Her novel Jamrach's Menagerie was long-listed for the Orange Prize 2011. She ...more
More about Carol Birch...
Jamrach's Menagerie Scapegallows Turn Again Home The Fog Line Little Sister

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