An ordinary, almost staid, couple are overwhelmed by crisis when their third child is born. The book starts off fairly ordinary and staid too, but this makes the crisis all the more realistic when it hits and easier to sympathize with. Once the new baby is born, the writing becomes sensitive and involving, the characterization sharper and deeper and it’s possible to really care about what has happened and what will happen. As the trust and communication between the parents break down, threatening the fabric of the family, Dan, the husband, bolts to his father’s house in Ireland.
In its own quiet way this novel is unsettling and even shocking as it challenges the reader to step into Dan’s shoes: are you as open-minded, as trusting, as loyal as you think you are?”
He becomes better acquainted with his father, with his family history and with the history of Ireland, a country he’s never before thought of as his own. Kate, his wife, is left to cope with two children and a new baby. Dan’s behaviour is enough to make the reader want to give him a good shake but Casey explores his motivation with such sensitivity that it’s impossible not to be on his side too. In the midst of this emotional agonizing, the action moves two hundred years to the Irish Rebellion of the late 18th century and Caribbean island of Montserrat, where even Irishmen could be landlords and slave owners. In its own quiet way this novel is unsettling and even shocking as it challenges the reader to step into Dan’s shoes: are you as open-minded, as trusting, as loyal as you think you are?
a beautiful, evocative tale of love tested.
Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner
this wise, tender novel.
Paul Magrs, TLS
The novel’s final image is startling, enigmatic, beautiful and challenging. Through it, Casey appears to urge a re-examination of that which we assume to be philosophically ordered, and to confront our own dreams just as Dan does: which implies that nothing is separate and that the world has a wild inter-dependance that rises even from the genetic, cellular mine of our own bodies.
A fresh and intriguing book that many writers would love to have written.
Mary O’Donnell, Amazon.co.uk
The Fisher Child can be bought online at Amazon UK
The Fisher Child, the final volume in The Bann River Trilogy, is published by Picador of London
ISDN 0 330 48301 3 hardback
ISDN 0 330 48302 1 paperback
Picador Hardback blurb
Growing up in Irish families in London, Dan and Kate first met unenthusiastically as children in the 1970s. Now, years later, they are on holiday in Italy, married, in love, parents to a boy and girl. And when Kate discovers she is pregnant again, it seems they will be closer than ever.
But when Meg is born, their lives are changed utterly. Trust is replaced with suspicion and anger. Dan flees to Ireland and to his father, seeking to understand what has happened to his family and to himself. It is clear, however, that his bewilderment has much older roots. We are taken back to 1798 where Dan’s ancestor, Hugh Byrne, is fighting on Vinegar Hill in the Rebellion. Troubled by the violence done to his family, and the violence in himself, Hugh goes into exile in the tropics, where he gradually overcomes his prejudice and remorse and begins a family with a young woman, Ama.
The Fisher Child is the third novel in Philip Casey’s Bann River Trilogy and is his best fiction to date, demonstrating, with acute sensitivity, the threads of the past that exist in every family. The Fisher Child is a touching and at times, agonising, exploration of the constantly shifting nature of love. It is a book that will linger long in the memory.