Sheer survival is difficult enough for the people of a small island off the west of Ireland - what chance do they have of love or even of dignity? In the 1950s their battle is with the savage forces of poverty, disease and religious constraint. Terrible things happen - rape, incest, bestiality - and yet somehow compassion, love and generosity of spirit manage to continue. Brooding over it all is the elemental figure of Big Bucko, symbolic of all that is brutal and disruptive. Four decades later, the island is facing other dangers: the Spanish fishing boats which threaten the livelihood of the trawlermen, the encroachment of tourism and the gradual disintegration of community. But still the people strive to transcend their common legacy of suffering, to reach for love and a new connectedness. Mythic, lyrical and moving, this extraordinary novel sounds the depths of our relationship with nature and with each other, and bears witness to love's endurance in spite of all.
Used availability for John F Deane's Undertow
March 2003 : UK Paperback