Friday, September 11, 2009

Bog Child (2008)

"Some things never change," seems to be the theme in this books by Siobhan Dowd set in Ireland. Living close to the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Fergus represents all of the children who are brought into the world in the middle of a war they didn't start and may die in instead of resolving the conflict. He discovers a partially buried body of a child when he and his uncle are (illegally) collecting peat from a bog near his home. The police quickly determine that the body is centuries old. An anthropologist and her daughter, Felicity, are brought in to try and learn how she died and include Fergus in their investigation.

"You'd never think there was anything wrong here in the North," Felicity said. "Would you?"

Fergus looked out at the green tunnel of trees ahead and the idyllic roadside flowers. "No."

"With the hunger strike and all, the news would have you believe the whole place was at its own throat."

Fergus swallowed. Maybe it is.

"They teach history like that," Felicity said. "Battle after battle - as if there was no ordinary living in between."

Fergus' brother is in prison and is participating in the hunger strike which adds tremendous stress to his family. Taking exams to be placed in medical school offers Fergus a way out of the madness but it is not a sure thing until he gets his grades back. Fergus gets flashes of what we see is the events leading up to the death of the bog child. She sacrificed herself for her village and that raises the question of how much good the fasters do for their efforts.

I highly recommend this book to readers as a way to try and understand what it is like living under such conditions.

My rating for this book: ++++

No comments: