The first launch event for Maria C McCarthy’s As Long as it Takes went ahead at the University of Kent, despite wind, rain and a sinkhole appearing on the M2. There is a great blog piece on the university’s creative writing blog, which describes the event as ‘more Tipperary tavern than literary salon’. Here’s a quote from Sonia Overall’s blog:
Here were explorations of displacement, of the old country as home and England as a place to prosper. ‘Some people think Irish people aren’t very clever’, McCarthy’s narrator warned, ‘and you mustn’t give them any ammunition.’
‘A Tea Party’ told of a young girl’s confusion as she attempts to negotiate the adult world:
the roles of men and women, too many babies, Catholic rules and rituals. In this world, ‘God is in the priest’s thumb’ and marital communication stops as soon as ‘there are babies’. Family is subject to the forces of temptation, betrayal and disappointment: tough themes dexterously delivered through an observant child’s voice and strong lacing of wry humour. As the narrator enjoys a secret tea party with her father and the alluring Mrs Roberts, she notices silver balls on the fairy cakes, curling fingernails holding the plate and, leaning forward, ‘the line’ where her host’s ‘bosoms met’. After the adults return from their ‘talk about grown-up things’, the ‘too red’ mouth of the woman looms ‘like the felt pen’ stain her little brother ‘got on the living room carpet’, an indelible act.
There is also an article in the Kent Messenger on how a trip Maria C McCarthy made to her father’s hometown in County Cork sparked some of the stories in the book. Read it here.
There are several more events to launch the book, and other Cultured Llama authors are also out and about with their poetry and stories this March and April. Bethany W Pope, Richard Thomas and Rose Cook all have events, which you can read more of on the Events page.