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Amongst Women has ratings and reviews. Paul said: Did you read any great novels recently about a thoroughly decent man? A guy who wasn’t violen. John McGahern was born in Dublin and brought up in the west of Ireland. He is the author of three collections of short stories and six novels, including Amongst. John McGahern, who died on March 30th, , set the bar for the rest of us.

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Maggie settles in London and eventually marries, as does Sheila. Each time he met them at the station his very presence affirmed and reaffirmed again as he kissed them goodbye. And the specialness they feel because of their father’s way of setting apart the family from others.

If she were to go to university she would be come different and “better” than the family, it would keep all of the family from being on equal, “humble” terms, though Moran is far from humble and what he really means to do is control his daughters’ every move.

Within the house the outside world was shut out. As such, he can control them, as when he discourages one from accepting a university scholarship. As the main character, Moran, is never endearing, McGahern challenges the reader to empathise with him and to understand why the women in his life remain emotionally tied to him, even after they have successfully established independent lives away from Great Meadow.

The best novels: No 97 – Amongst Women by John McGahern () | Books | The Guardian

Monaghan Day was a market day, when Moran’s friend McQuaid used to visit and they would reminisce about the war. The callers continued coming to the house throughout the day. McGahern was also a farmer, with a keen sense of country life.

It was not because I wondered what would happen. It’s an incredibly evocative scene in a novel that is awash in them. It is already clear in this section that he is a proud and difficult man to live with. View all 11 comments.

Takes One To Know One: A Masterful Irish Novelist

Many significant Irish novels published during the 80s and 90s I think, in particular, of Colm Toibin’s wonderful The Heather Blazing seem to feature characters and plots that struggle to reconcile the revolutionary ideals of the early twentieth century with the soullessness and disenchantments of some aspects of the new state that finally came into being.


The novel shows that Moran’s contradictory behaviour is a personification of the contradictions of postcolonial society.

The family’s story is told through the use of flashbacks as the women in Moran’s life remember the past. Her previous profession has been that of valued servant: He does exhibit some inherent attractive qualities. The closest I ever got to any man was when I had him in the sights of my rifle and I never missed.

The Rosary is peculiarly identified with Moran and it is a very clever device used by McGahern to emphasise the narrative repetitiveness, which is a feature of this novel. Are there any similarities between Moran and the character of Paddy Maguire? In Amongst Women we see the powerful bond of the family and how it can withstand so many difficulties.

Their exclusiveness as Morans of Great Meadow is such that it does not even embrace their own husbands and children. The relationships between Rose and her step-daughters might seem a little too good to be entirely plausible, but make sense in their context. The story is set in the country and outlines the position of the family of the time. Moran’s youngest son Michael has escaped The central character of this story is central in the way a cloud is central to a storm.

As if to turn attention away from the continual coldness of his hands, he pulled on the gloves comically and pretended to grope about the room with them like a blind man. View all 4 comments.

Amongst Women Reader’s Guide

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. We can’t get you better on your own. There is aomngst coded life being lived here in which all that is said means nothing in comparison to the tone set by Moran, dictatorial and insistent. M A short book, but claustrophobic in its persistent domestic dysfunction, its unrelentingly dissatisfied central character, its unsympathetic disdain for chapter breaks.

A theme of the novel is the difficulty of communication between a father and his children, which questions Ireland’s conceit of itself as a healthy family-centred society.


Their attendance at his funeral strengthens this bond between them even more. None of those guys seem to have read these trenchant dissections of masculinity in all these novels. Please try again later. Like a few novels I have read recently, the father’s word is law whether he is right or not and sometimes destroys the life of his child It became, on publication inthe novel by which Irish people measured their world, and then it became famous in England and in France for its beauty, wisdom and calm perfection.

Amonggst so, the political conflicts that are going on, that have brought Moran so much misery, will ,cgahern and change but continue to influence life in Ireland on many levels.

It took 10 years to write; its power will last for many joohn. His amonbst sons cope badly with this — Luke has abandoned the family entirely and moved to London — but his three daughters and his second wife have learned ways mcaghern managing, adapting to his ways and supporting one another.

Over supper we did not mention novels. The Role of Women This theme has obviously to be examined in the light of what has already been said about Patriarchy. That unexplained notion of superiority was often badly shaken and in need of restoration by the time they came home. Gently Rose opened the door to the room and he nodded silently to her and went in. The book is well written but a little boring. When there are difficulties with young Michael who begins to drink and womanise, Moran threatens to use physical violence to control him, as he had once done with Luke.

During his writing career, he served as a visiting professor at Colgate University and the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and he was writer-in-residence at Trinity College, Dublin in The ex-officer promotes esprit de corpsthough his theatre of operations is a hayfield and not a battlefield: