Bog Child

While stealing turf from across the border in Ireland, eighteen-year-old Fergus McCann discovers a BOG CHILD (Random House, $9.99), the body of a young girl preserved for centuries in the bog.  His discovery opens up yet another chapter in his already turbulent life.

On the one hand, this story is about Fergus’ involvement in the archeological dig surrounding the body, which belong to a girl who died in 80 AD whom Fergus names Mel.  The archaeologist and her daughter welcome Fergus to participate in their research.  His involvement leads to a romantic entanglement which sweetens Fergus’ otherwise gloomy situation.

Throughout the novel, Fergus is haunted by the Mel and the story of her persecution and political strife.  Her story mirrors his own life during the Troubles in 2oth century Ireland.  Fergus’ older brother, Joe, is a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.  In jail, Joe has decided to join a hunger strike which has already claimed one victim.  Finally, Fergus himself is pulled into a closer involvement with the political troubles when he is manipulated into delivering packages of unknown substances across the border.

Siobhan Dowd‘s portrayal of Fergus and his family’s personal moral and political struggles illuminates the history of the Troubles.  One of her last novels before her untimely death at the young age of 47, Bog Child is a brilliantly written novel that will keep you captivated until the very last page.

Kerri Poore

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~ by Dana on September 23, 2010.

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