The Lost Orchard is an intimate portrait of an Irish family in the wake of the Great War. An affectionate father is driven by his ambition to get ahead; a distant mother dreams of a bigger home and a better life; and sisters Myra and Sally enjoy the freedom to roam the streets of Stoneybatter that frame their childhood world.
Myra Brennan transports us to the early years of the Irish Free State, to a long-lost world of Sunday best, trips to Dublin Zoo and corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing country, where hard-won independence is tempered by the iron fist of the Catholic Church and tenement dwellers are close to starving, Myra’s view of the world is influenced by her father’s optimism, her mother’s disappointment and the tension that seems to always hang in the air. Myra closely observes everything as she tries to navigate and understand the world around her.
By richly evoking Dublin of the early twentieth century and using the deceptively light touch of a child’s perspective, Myra draws the reader into a story that is at once disarmingly simple and deeply complex. Without ever indulging in false sentiment, The Lost Orchard enchants with its emotional honesty and its fresh, engaging voice.