PEOPLE OF THE FLOW
Ben H. Gagnon
Beacon Publishing Group (2019)
Reviewed by Jan Freeman for Reader Views (2/2020)
“People of the Flow” holds the reader’s interest from the beginning. I really enjoyed it and I’m still amazed at how much information about Irish language and history is packed into this story. The characters and the family structure are well thought out and believable. The tale is woven through thousands of years and goes from over a hundred years in the past into the present life of the main character in the first two chapters. Irish lore is incorporated, as well as international sites that are similar to structures in Ireland. Very intriguing! If you are interested in Ireland, the Irish people, Irish history and legends, you won’t be able to put this book down. In fact, even if you think you aren’t interested in Irish anything, you might change your mind if you read “People of the Flow”.
As the story begins, the main character, John Harrington, lives in New York City. He is returning to his hometown in Ireland in order to attend his father’s funeral. Irish humor in difficult situations is evident when John and his sister, Fiona, notice that everyone at the funeral is wearing something from their father’s store. I had to laugh at this part of the sad day when they almost succumbed to the giggles during such a sober time. As they attempt to control the unexpected chuckles, the priest approaches them after the service. ‘“I noticed it too,” he said. “Never seen anythin’ quite like it. Almost forgot what I was goin’ to say, staring into the full range of inventory of your Da’s shop.”’
The close friendships, the respect, and the honest approach to situations that is part of the charm of the Irish people are all woven throughout the dialogue and descriptions in this book. I loved it – so natural and easy to imagine. Also, I could “hear” the accent as I read conversations.
I had trouble putting the book down, so I just gave up and read it through. As complicated as the subject matter is, Mr. Gagnon writes it for reading and not for studying – just enough detail to hold interest and explain it for understanding. Perfect for a story that moves along for the reader’s enjoyment.
If Mr. Gagnon wrote another book, I’d look forward to reading it. He clearly loves the subject and he’s done a great deal of research of these international monuments and how similar they are all over the world. I recommend “People of the Flow” by Ben H. Gagnon.