Home Arts Books The Hunger House by Conor McGuire

The Hunger House by Conor McGuire

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 The garden became a private obsession, a distraction from the daily hardship and misery which characterized the activity of the workhouse. The idea of lush growth and fragrant blossoms filled Bridget's head, the polar opposite of all the workhouse embodied. She would create a balm for eyes accustomed to tragedy, ears that ached with laments and nostrils jaded by the pungent fumes of decay and sickness. A little corner of heaven stolen from the dark walls and dim interiors of the netherworld, its fragrance spreading through the closed spaces, challenging the dark. Bridget Hennigan returns to Ballina to take up a posting as Matron of the new Workhouse overlooking the town. Her challenges are many, a professional woman under the supervision of a male dominated Board of Guardians. She forges new friendships and alliances, questioning the prevailing culture of hardship and want. Events take an unsettling turn as the resident medical officer, Dr Whyte acts with impunity, destroying the lives of women in his wake. Only Bridget can stop him, but she must work alone, her actions at odds with her conservative morals and beliefs. Their worlds collide, the outcome both dangerous and unpredictable.
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About the Author
Conor McGuire was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo, the setting for his first novel. Located on the western Atlantic shores of Ireland, the landscape and people feature prominently in his writing and paintings. The novel is his first foray into the realm of historical fiction and is inspired by stories and research uncovered while writing a weekly column for 'The Western People.'

He lives in Castlebar, County Mayo with his wife Deirdre and son Colin.Conor McGuire is a writer and artist born in Ballina, Co. Mayo, the setting for his first novel. Located on the western Atlantic shores of Ireland, the landscape and people feature prominently in his writing and paintings. The novel is his first foray into the realm of historical fiction and is inspired by stories and incidents uncovered while researching content for a weekly column featured in 'The Western People' newspaper.

He lives in Castlebar, County Mayo with his wife Deirdre and son Colin.

Conor McGuires luminous, exquisitely textured paintings pull viewers into virtually timeless visions of his native Western Ireland. Hoping to convey the region's isolation and relatively unchanged picturesqueness, his portraits and landscapes privilege small towns, local characters, pristine nature and traditional music. In these settings, occasional modern details, wristwatches, camera-toting tourists, electronic keyboards, complicate the illusion of isolation. McGuire's aesthetic choices reflect this tension between regional vernacular and modern sensibilities, moving between a gentle, impressionist landscape style reminiscent of Monet and an expressionist mode in portraits where the canvas edges blur into abstraction. A rhythmic quality plays throughout these stylistic variations, uniting McGuires paintings. This rhythm figures very literally in portraits of musicians, where musical tones seem to ripple over surrounding spaces and architectures. In paintings of streets, towns, fields and seascapes, meanwhile, a less overt but no less powerful cadence develops from repeating shapes, shifting forms and alternating colours. McGuires paintings, then, invite viewers to experience lives and landscapes at a different rhythm.

 

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