Loodeen Winders – Lewy, six years of age – is growing up sharp. It’s the turbulent early 1920s in a market town in the west of Ireland. Free State soldiers patrol in front of the Workhouse. Lewy’s worried about his father’s car being commandeered again. The nuns loom over Lewy and his classmates, amongst them the orphans – those shadowy figures, ‘slobbery and weak and raggy’.
Encounters with Violet and ‘Brazenface’ Rosaleen McInally in the woods play on Lewy’s mind, even while he’s trying to fathom the death of his beloved Grandfather. For a treat he goes behind the screen at the Pictures where his father creates the sound effects with his ‘Jazzdrums’ for the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Lewy’s mother works magic on the sewing machine and picks up the pieces when things get out of hand – like the time he breaks his arm walking the wire in their backyard circus.
On the fortieth anniversary of Eoghan O Tuairisc’s death, this is the first appearance in English of the frank, funny voice of Lewy, a vital witness of his place and time.