Bondurant lured me in slowly with this tale of a couple moving to the southern coast of Ireland in order to take over a pub they’ve won and to try to save their marriage. For a while, it seemed like Bondurant flirted with caricatures rather than characters, but his persistence and sense of detail won me over. There are plenty of conflicts here – the local and the out-of-towner, parent and child, husband and wife, old and new – but Bondurant interweaves them and sets them off at such a slow boil that the story becomes hypnotic as the reader wonders just what is going to explode first.
There are a few touches of the supernatural here, but they come off as earned rather gratuitous. Bondurant does an incredible job writing in the first person female voice. His prose is never better than when Elly, that female voice, discusses her passion (even that word seems insufficient) for swimming.
A powerful and well-told story.