Why did I love this book?
I first read this book in my teens and it profoundly affected me. The storyline is set in Dublin from 1907 to 1914, when a third of the city’s residents were destitute. Large families lived in single rooms in the dilapidated former homes of wealthy landlords. The author weaves the lives of his fictional characters into the workers’ revolt and great lockout of 1913, a tragic time for the ordinary people of Dublin. In spite of this, there are wonderful scenes of kindness and self-sacrifice that a close-knit community will often provide. I feel this book greatly influenced my own writing decades after first reading it.