Set in Dublin during the years of the Second World War and in England during the postwar years of the 1950s and 1960s Against the Wind is a lively and compelling memoir.
It is the story of a young man of independent mind and feisty spirit who refuses to accept the constraints and strictures of a closed Irish society. And who through economic necessity, at a very young age, is forced to live and work in 'pagan' England the land of 'the enemy'.
There he learns to 'like the English' and learns of 'freedoms that he knew very little about' in 'holy Ireland'.
A wealth of varying and informative material and the ability to anchor the personal securely within the public domain gives this memoir a universal appeal.
The narrative has all the ingredients for a compelling read - vivid and varied characters brought alive on the page, compelling setting and historical relevance and interest. The prologue whets our appetite for what is to come and the mixture of recollection, poetry and historical information drawstrings the narrative together well.
Astute observation and character portrayal are the strengths of the work, as is the accessible tone of the narrative voice in which the author employs a light touch that has just the right amount of wit and sobriety.