A writer from the Abbeyshrule area has recently published the second book in a three-part trilogy set in and around the south Longford village.
Séamus Mac Aogáin’s new book, entitled ‘Tell Me Another’, is a follow-up to ‘The Road to Abbeyshrule’, and tells the story of a love affair between a Catholic boy and a Protestant girl, who come under the guidance of an old white witch, Tess Maguire, who lived nearby.
“It’s based on fact, but with some fiction thrown in,” admitted Mr Mac Aogáin, who now lives in Spain, where he is an examiner for Cambridge University. “Old Tess is the main character in the book, while it also centres around the love affair between Seamie and Annabell.”
In addition, the book also features murders, suicide, and incestuous relationships.
In his prologue for the book, poet John Liddy says of Mr Mac Aogáin’s writing: “From where he currently lives he can observe his native land and his people with an eagle eye.”
Mr Mac Aogáin admits that his main character is based on a woman who lived in Abbeyshrule who took him under her wing when he was a boy, while the love story is inspired by a relationship he had with a local girl.
“Tess taught me how to use my imagination in storytelling and writing and I owe a lot of my later writing to her influence, and that of John McGahern, who was a great mentor - especially advising me to stick to my own natural style.”
Of his “young Protestant soul mate”, he says she was “later a lover who joined my every adventure as we roamed the Commons, the Glebe, Taghshinny, and Lough Sionnad, the disappearing turlough.
“She meant everything to me until her father forced us into a suicide pact, which proved unsuccessful but forced us apart for countless years, until we met up by coincidence on The Camino de Santiago.
“I suppose my book wouldn’t be unlike ‘The Valley of the Squinting Windows’ or a sort of rural ‘Angela’s Ashes’, Mr Mac Aogáin continued.
“The first book caused mayhem because it exposed hidden secrets that were brushed under the carpet, including some of my own family’s. This new one is even tougher.”
The author also revealed he is currently working on the final installment of the trilogy, which is to be called ‘The Half Door Society’.
‘Tell Me Another’ is available now as a Kindle e-book.
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