IT TURNS OUT that another blogger has read John McGahern's That They May Face The Rising Sun. McGahern, from County Leitrim, writes about that Irish county in prose filled with imagery and vocabulary from 20th century rural Ireland. I know an Irish blogger who remembers the place well.
My father was from Leitrim and each summer we'd go there for three weeks - heading out into the fields on day one, living on blackcurrant jam sandwiches (time was too precious to waste it sitting down to meals) and having to be carted in on the last day tears flowing, hating the idea of going back to the city.
Strange as it seems, parts of McGahern's landscapes map directly into the long family excursions we would take from Pennsylvania to the corn fields of Iowa where the farmers spoke with foreign phrases, the cars doubled as seed trucks and the food tasted different. I learned another culture during each of those midwestern experiences. McGahern reminds me of those memories and how they fit into cultures all around the world.