Wednesday 17 October 2018

Marjories second breakfast helping!

By Gerry Slevin If one thinks that Nenagh author Marjorie Quarton is pulling a fast one in having Breakfast the Night Before launched for a second time within twelve years, when RTEs Seamus Hosey does the honours in the local Library on (this) Thursday evening (6.30pm), such is not the case.

Yes, “Breakfast the Night Before” originally appeared in 1988 but what readers will have an opportunity to read from this week-end on, will be a combination of TWO volumes of memoirs, “Breakfast the Night Before” and “Saturday’s Child” which came out in 1993, parts of both and much more, omitting much that is no longer relevant, with events brought up to date and a lot of new material added.

The result is a £9.99 paperback from The Lilliput Press in Arbour Hill, Dublin and an opportunity for readers to, once more, take themselves into the rural world of Marjorie Quarton, from the Economic War of the 1930’s to the farming boom and recession of the 1970’s. There, to be enjoyed through Marjorie’s inimitably descriptive way, are stories of the upbringing of a Protestant only child on a North Tipperary farm - an idyll interrupted by school in Dublin during the ‘40’s. Marjorie recalls taking over on her father’s death, working the land, and animals (dogs, sheep, horses and cattle), recounting with great humour, acuity and poignancy her dealings, from the age of seventeen at fairs throughout the country -- a lone woman in a man’s world.

Nee Smithwick, Marjorie was born in Nenagh in 1930 and educated in Dublin. Her novels include Renegade (1991), No Harp Like My Own (1987), and Corporal Jack (1988). She has written short stories and standard works on dogs (The Farm Dog, The Working Border Collie, One Dog and His Trials) and for children (The Cow Watched the Battle, The Other Side of the Island).

In the Preface to the latest book, the author states that when “Breakfast the Night Before” originally appeared in 1988, the publishers, Andre Deutsch, were in the process of changing hands and not running as smoothly as before. As a result, though briefly a bestseller, the book was reprinted only once and had been in demand ever since. It never appeared in paperback and had been unobtainable for years.

Another memoir “Saturday’s Child” came along in 1993 with very few copies reaching Ireland. The present book consisted of parts of both of these books and much more.

Thursday evening’s launch is supported by North Tipperary County Council and the County Tipperary Joint Libraries.