Gregory Mose's Reviews > Tir Na N'Og

Tir Na N'Og by Marni L.B. Troop
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Jul 17, 2010

really liked it

wasn't sure what to expect when picking up Tir Na N'Og. I pick up a fantasy book on the odd occasion, but I'm often wary of them, and a badly done book about Irish fairies could be the literary equivalent of a week trapped in a room with Michael Flatley. It doesn't bear thinking about.

But this is wonderful. Troop has mastered the rare gift of infusing a book with years of research without making the reader feel like he's just been proofreading someone's PhD thesis. The story flows, the characters are engaging, and for anyone who has done more than a little casual reading about the mythological traditions of ancient Europe, the cross-references are satisfying. Readers of Graves' The White Goddess will find plenty of opportunities to smile as they breeze through this thoroughly enjoyable book.

A previous reader has commented on sexism, but as male reader myself, I saw it differently - Troop has created an approximation of a pre-celtic Irish society, dominated by warlords even as it was guided by a matriarchal religious tradition. In short, she's recreated an ancient European society much as it might have been (taking into account that we're talking about fairies here...). The men vying for power would have been aggressive, they would have been warriors, not sensitive liberal thinkers busily affirming their admiration for diversity before heading off to have their chests waxed. Troop hasn't flinched from portraying them as the competitive alpha males they would have been. I can only admire her for it.

Set in a creatively imagined yet historically based world, Tir Na N'Og: Journal One is a well-written, enjoyable and erudite flight of fancy into the misty proto-mythic past of ancient Ireland. If that does it for you, buy this book. I for one am looking forward to Journal Two.
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