Saturday, October 10, 2015

H. Schussman’s review of Dancing to an Irish Reel, by Claire Fullerton

Readers Point of View

This book is truly literary fiction. Clair Fullerton artfully weaves a subtle romance with poetic nuance. For me, the appeal was the routine. Some people like whirlwind vacations, but I like to settle in and grow some roots. Dancing to an Irish Reel is about Hailey settling into a small community and getting a feel for the personality of the locals. She meets the dark mysterious Liam Hennessey and can’t shake the attraction. This tale does a wonderful job of illustrating the different ways we go about falling in love; men versus women, Irish versus Californian. Hailey is analytical, curious, and straightforward. Liam is a free spirit, confused, and never faces anything straight-on.

I imagine each reader will connect with different personalities in the story. I liked Adrian. He is one of those guys who enthusiastically helps in any way he can. Some people find him extremely annoying, Hailey thinks he’s adorable. I also loved her description of an elegantly dressed older gentleman named Seamus Kearney. I want to sit with him and have a cup of tea.

Writer’s POV

A special skill Fullerton has is to allow each personality to be uniquely different. Typically writers create dialogues with the same speaking style. She writes each person’s dialogue differently.  “In Connemara, we like to stay connected, you know. No need to be parted by a little thing like death.” This was Liam’s comment regarding the local haunted cemetery. After a couple of pages you can almost hear the Irish brogue.

If a sentence stands out in literature, I know I’m on to something good. In Fullerton’s case, many such sentences occur. My favorite of the book describes a businessman Hailey must deal with… Her first impression; “He had glowing white hair that stuck out every which way, and untamed eyebrows to match. A course mustache swept hither and yon to either side of his mouth as if it were fighting gravity.” Lovely, sigh.

I also appreciated her ability to stay true to first person POV. As any writer knows this isn’t easy. The first person can’t know what is happening out of their presence. Claire Fullerton masterfully pulls it off. Well done!