latest novel Lament In The Wind was launched in October
1999. Beginning in the present, the carefully researched work of fiction
set against the background of famine Ireland, tells the compelling story
of Cassie O Connor. It has already been described, as a story of
that will live long in the memory of the reader.Lament
in the wind is not only Hazel Mc Intyres tribute to the victims
of The Great Hunger, but is also a tribute to the courage and dignity
of the human spirit.
An interesting footnote to Hazel Mc Intyres third book is that young
Irelander, Thomas Darcy Mc Gee, escaped to America in 1848 via Culdaff
in Co. Donegal where Mc Geedisguised as a clergymanhid in
a farmhouse until passage was secured for him on a Derry emigrant ship.
By 1858 he had established the New Era newspaper in which
he advocated the creation of a Canadian nation. On July the first, 1867,
he was a member of the Canadian legislature which admitted New Brunswick
as one of the four original provinces of the Dominion of Canada. As
I followed the turbulent life and times of Cassie O Connor from
County Donegal to New Brunswick , I was reminded of T. S. Elliots
lines;"Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of
the healers art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart."Cassies
life parallels an equally convulsive period in famine Ireland but Hazel
Mc Intyre doesnt resort to easy cliché or cosy familiarity. is
the healers art; the British and Irish are not conveniently
brutal and downtrodden in equal measure; the fever chart of
Irelands history is much too enigmatic to be used as a expedient
backdrop for a work of fiction. There is suffering in Lament In
The Wind but the innate compassion of the author ensures that we
are left with hope and affirmation. This is a love story and to quote
Anthony Trollope; Those who have courage to love should have courage
Galligan writer and broadcaster BBC Radio Foyle and Radio Ulster.
writer Joyce Carey once wrote about the dark light which enveloped
the Inishowen Peninsula, the setting for one of his novels. He evoked
the landscape, its colors and moods and as I read Hazel McIntyres
moving account of the life of her central character, Cassie OConnor,
in Lament In The Wind, the themes of light and darkness kept
recurring. The darkness was the shadow of the Great Famine but the light
shone from the love and warmth of the characters in their triumph over
adversity in a traumatic period in Irish history.In this, her third publication,
Hazel McIntyre vividly recounts the dark episodes in the lives of the
famine victims; their fear of the workhouse, the threats of eviction,
the hemorrhage of emigration and the deserted homesteads left in its wake.
But she also evokes the redeeming brighter side of human nature as events
unfold, which bring hope out of despair and which, a century later, turn
darkness into light.No-one can remain unmoved after reading this heroic
story, skillfully narrated with sympathy and understanding by Hazel McIntyre
; a powerful tribute that will be eagerly read everywhere, but especially
in Ireland and Canada.
Sean Beattie writer and historian. Inishowen Co Donegal. 15 Oct 1998
Hazel McIntyre is a born storyteller and her latest novel Lament
In The Wind is proof of that seemingly effortless talent.Lament
In The Wind unfolds naturally as an absorbing family history, taking
us from the comfort of a high-tec present to the harshness of of a Donegal
past during the famine. And as Hazel fills her canvas with realistic characters,
landscape and historical detail, she sympathetically recreates that cruel
period without wallowing in it.
Lynne Reece Loftus: Irish Canadian Education Resource
Programme Director and Chairperson of The Irish Canadian Society, Greystones
Lament In The Wind is a meticulously researched novel
which explores understanding and suffering. It is also a story of love
and its ability to transcend even the most vicious hardships. Its
a powerful and evocative subject and the story of the novels protagonist,
Cassie O Connor mirrors the tragic plight of Ireland. Cassies
pangs are Irelands pangs, her displacement Irelands displacement,
her ennobled spirit that of Irelands. During the famine, clinging to a
miserable existence was a daily occupation, the only occupation. Lament
In The Wind coveys this without embroider.
Fear of the workhouse, the threat of eviction, the disarray involved in
emigration and the deserted waste-land left behind are rendered starkly.
The book imaginatively re-counts this dreadful chapter without descending
into gloom. The restoration of hope at the end is triumphant.
NEWS LETTER, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1998
book was a look back to contented childhood in her beloved Donegal. Her
first novel was also set in Donegal, and in America, and tells a compelling
story of Mary Kate, who was rescued from a nunnery, went on to life and
love.Hazels storytelling gets even better, and in this, her second
novel, she moves between Canada and yes, Donegal. Set in modern and famine
times, one and a half centuries ago, it is a story of poverty, fear, love,
avarice, goodness, heroism.The reader is hooked on page one, well this
reader was, and drawn into a gripping and romantic story. The story begins
in the present, in a blend of decision and indecision, quite a human state,
I thought. Through the art of research, the reader is gently drawn back
150 years. There you can look in at life in that time, see and hear people
living and dying, getting on with themselves and their neighbors.You can
share their hardships, their romance, their hard lives and their tender
moments.You can witness their despair and follow their hope. And you can
see it all pass before you from birth to death.Hazel brings us back to
"now" reality at intervals. This makes us differentiate between
the present day and the past, and we can see what a great difference exists.
But we feel that this difference concerns material things, and that which
matters is in peoples hearts and minds. That does not change.The
end of the book brings us back to the present, and towards a hopeful future.
And we are left contemplating that future.
Cormacain The Great Famine,
as it has since been labelled, is widely regarded as one of the most
important and vivid times in Irish history. Yet the human aspect of this
time that touched so many lives so profoundly, has often been forgotten.
In her latest novel "Lament in the Wind," Donegal author Hazel
McIntyre addresses the subject
and shows us how, even in the depths of despair and deprivation, the strength
of human courage can come shining through. A retrospective look
significant time in Irish history, "Lament in the
Wind," tells the story of Cassie O'Connor who with her mother, is
saved from the workhouse by Marcia Briggs, daughter of the local clergyman.
Yet, this is not just a piece of history, nor just a love story or indeed
a sad story,.
Instead it is a tale that magically encapsulates all these aspects. In
them, Hazel McIntyre has crafted a work that will appeal to a wide spectrum
of the public. A story sure to etch itself into memory and one that can
and will be read time and time again.
DONEGAL DEMOCRATE, DECEMBER 31st, 1998.