The Pawnbroker’s Reward

by Declan O'Rourke


The Pawnbroker’s Reward | 9780717186327 | Declan O’Rourke

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Published:05/11/2021 by Gill


Declan O’Rourke’s award-winning album, Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine, was released to critical acclaim in 2017. It illuminated an extraordinary series of eye-witness accounts, including the story of Padraig and Cait ua Buachalla. Four years on, in Declan’s meticulously researched literary debut, the story of the ua Buachalla family is woven into a powerful, multilayered work showing us the famine as it happened through the lens of a single town – Macroom, Co. Cork – and its environs.

Local pawnbroker Cornelius Creed is at the juncture between the classes. Sensitive and empathetic, he is a voice on behalf of the poor, and his story is entwined with that of Padraig ua Buachalla. Through these characters – utilising local history and documentary evidence – Declan creates a kaleidoscopic view of this defining moment in Ireland’s history.

‘A powerful and gripping piece of writing from a born storyteller.’ Joseph O’Connor

‘The narrative is just like his singing voice, full of powerful strength and compassion.’ Michael Harding

‘Lucid, lovingly-written and lyrical.’ Professor Christine Kinealy

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