Seumas O’Kelly – Waysiders. Stories of Connacht



Waysiders is a path. At the same time, it is an extremely strong emotional experience, a way of knowing late nineteenth century Ireland, an opportunity to access to universal issues. Its fascination is probably due to its essential expression of a land living between the misery of an exhausting country life, a system of property deteriorating the social and personal relationships, the magic of Celtic traditions intertwined with a religion that transfigures reality, and the dream of a better life. You feel part of an ungrateful daily life where glances of striking intelligence surprisingly catch you, severe and destructive feelings arise, a subtle irony glimpses. With extreme realism and sacredness, many themes are treated with great definition, striking deep cords which can still speak to us today: emigration, fairy tales, death, work, music, power, madness, love …

You can meet individual male and female characters of different ages, cultures and passions, who now and then are dramatically opposed to a deprived, intimidated, sometimes violent throng.

The slow narrative pace often coincides with that of solitary journeys on donkey carts, along walks bordered by hard walls covered with ivy, streams, ravines, through roads on the hills between poplar trees, fields of gorse, sharp frosty night sceneries.

You find yourself in a world of which you capture clear sensorial perceptions: awakenings before dawn, the taste of a special breakfast, the fear of being attacked and robbed, dark landscapes waiting for the first gleams of light, repressed hunger, thirst, the fatigue of cracking stone, tight muscles overcoming slopes with the cart loaded with grey limestone blocks. You can see the colors, the lights, you feel the cold, smell the peat smoke, savor the homemade whiskey, you let yourself be carried away by the music of the fideóg, by the folk song of the young peat seller, with his long throat throbbing like a bird’s, you fall in love with young guys in the throes of a dark depression.

A shepherd and his little girl painfully witness the agony of a goat brutally hurt. Impotence, possibility to put an end to that horror, sense of responsibility: in a night of heavy rain you are dazzled as the shepherd by the mystery of life and motherhood symbolized by the goat’s nipples, of the end of life, of free will.

You participate in the dream of impossible love, in the frustration of ideals shattered by daily famine and fatigue, you sense a carnal relationship with the earth, you are blinded by manic obstinacy towards things, means of subsistence, you fly on the wings of creativity and art.

A journey to Ireland becomes, as always with the best literature, an intense journey of self-discovery; it leaves an indecipherable nostalgia.

Translation edited by Chiara Canova and Robert Mardle

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Anna Anzani
“Choosing with method a dreamy slowness, step by step we will find the inescapable philosophical and poetic appeal of walking as an art and a lifestyle. [...](...) We train ourselves to wish the 'unexpected, to accept it, to go toward it. (Slowness as a philosophy, Duccio Demetrio) Anna Anzani. Born in Milano in 1963. Degree in Architecture, Politecnico di Milano; MPhil in Building Engineering, University of Bath (UK); PhD in Geotechniques, Politecnico di Torino, Associate Professor at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, coauthor of 90 scientific papers mainly in English. Reviewer for the Journals Construction and Building Materials, Materials and Structures, International Journal of Architectural Heritage. In 2003 she takes part in a theater Laboratory; at Tranchida Publishing House she attends the Laboratory of Creative Writing and then School Forrester for six years. Translates into Italian Waysiders. Stories of Connacht, by Seumas O’Kelly, Talbot Press, Dublin 1917, Italian title Lungo le strade, Tranchida 2009. In 2010 she attends a Counseling School and collaborates to lead a theater Laboratory at a public elementary school. She discovers happiness in surrender and being overwhelmed by the extraordinary gifts of Ananke. She loves translating from English, dreams of trying to write. Inkroci is the place of mutual "recognition", where sharing parts of herself, the place of belonging.