Louise Spiegler's Reviews > Bog Child

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
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Aug 08, 11


Everyone should read Siobhan Dowd. This book is gripping, funny, tragic and touching. It is set in Belfast in 1981, as the IRA prisoners in the Maze are engaged in the hunger strike for recognition as political prisoners. The story brings together past and present when 18-year-old Finn discovers the Bog Child, an Iron Age child buried near the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. What he discovers about the child's death in the first century CE parallels the story of his brother, Joe, also a prisoner, who embarks on hunger strike after the death of Bobby Sands. Finn's strongly characterized family and friends, and his brief acquaintance with the "squaddie", Owen, give the novel depth and richness. You certainly feel like you know these characters, and their fate matters.

The book was published after the author's untimely death at forty-seven years of age, which may explain some thinner plot lines, like Finn's romantic involvement with an archaeologist's daughter, but none of that interfered with my enjoyment of this book. I'm just sad such a talented writer is no longer with us, and writing at the peak of her powers.
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