Niall Williams & Christine Breen In Kiltumper: A Year in an Irish Garden


Code 9781526632654

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'I read it with enormous pleasure ... Heartbreaking, uplifting ... A delight' TIM PEARS

'I loved their two voices, truthful and gentle and generous' GEORGINA HARDING

'Magical ... Arresting ... Read it and be restored to yourself' IRISH CENTRAL

Thirty-four years ago, when they were in their twenties, Niall Williams and Christine Breen made the impulsive decision to leave their lives in New York City and move to Christine's ancestral home in the town of Kiltumper in rural Ireland. In the decades that followed, the pair dedicated themselves to writing, gardening and living a life that followed the rhythms of the earth.

In 2019, with Christine in the final stages of recovery from cancer and the land itself threatened by the arrival of turbines just one farm over, Niall and Christine decided to document a year of living in their garden and in their small corner of a rapidly changing world. Proceeding month by month through the year, this is the story of a garden in all its many splendours, and a couple who have made their life observing its wonders.

The book is accompanied by 15 of Christine’s pen-and-ink illustrations, and an epilogue about the first half of the year of the Pandemic.

About Kiltumper:

It’s a townland in the west of Ireland in rural County Clare, 14 km from the Wild Atlantic and originally the birthplace of one set of Christine’s ancestors, the Breens. Her grandfather was born in the cottage they now live in. Moving to Ireland from NY in the mid 80s in the midst of a recession when every young Irish person was leaving Ireland they eventually decided to document their life and wrote four non-fiction books, which they refer to as The Kiltumper Quartet, about their experiences of suddenly, overnight becoming rural dwellers in bare four room cottage.

About the Author

Niall Williams is the author of ten novels including This Is Happiness, 0shortlisted for Best Novel in the Irish Book Awards and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, History of the Rain, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and Four Letters of Love, which is set to be a major motion picture.

Christine Breen is the author of Her Name Is Rose and the co-author of four non-fiction books on country living in Ireland. Together they live in Kiltumper in County Clare, Ireland.

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'I read it with enormous pleasure ... There were so many episodes I loved, whether they were heartbreaking or uplifting ... It was a delight to step into Niall and Christine's precious garden, into the rhythms of their way of living, and to be refreshed'
- Tim Pears

'I loved their two voices, truthful and gentle and generous, so full of care for their land and for each other ... A record of how deeply life can be lived within a garden's walls'
- Georgina Harding

'Arresting ... Remarkable ... This book, in Seamus Heaney's phrase, catches the heart off guard ... But that strange exactitude, that respect for time, tradition, location, and the heart's desire can be found on every page of this uncommonly magical book. Read it and be restored to yourself'
- Irish Central

'A celebration of the solace of country life ... Country living, Breen reflects, teaches "about darkness and stars, about sunlight and silence, about things out of your control": about the inevitability of change. The book includes Breen's elegant botanical drawings. A warm homage to a piece of beloved Irish land'
- Kirkus Reviews


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