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He That Is Down Need Fear No Fall

Author:

Bruce Arnold

ISBN HB:

978-1-901658-70-5

Price HB:

€7.00

ISBN SB:

978-1-901658-71-2

Price SB:

€5.00

Old SB Price: €12.99

Now Only: €5.00

Old HB Price: €17.99

Now Only: €7.00

Order This Book Now

Barbara Young died on 15 May 2003. She was 93. She had never married and had no children. She did have a nephew, Ulick, and two nieces, Georgiana and Charmian. In clearing up her effects they came across a bundle of letters dating back to 1951 and written to her by George, the author’s father, who died in 1975.

They are love letters; with the strange, compelling force that such letters exercise, they drew together not just Barbara and George but her family, including her nephew and nieces.

On George’s side there was the author, then a schoolboy. He was deeply affected by his father’s experiences. Only half-comprehending what was happening at the time, he became the youthful witness of a passionate yet tormented love and of a life that was tearing itself apart. After youthful promise and a brilliant early career in the Royal Navy, George had come down to the level expressed in the book’s title.

The reassurance of needing to ‘fear no fall’ did not work. He did fear and he fell, again and again. His greatest fear was of losing Barbara. Yet for brief episodes, after his encounter with her, he experienced passionate love, though not immediately reciprocated, and it was always elusive.

Meanwhile, the tiny group of witnesses looked on, fearful of the fragility on which his life seemed to depend. They learned by experience not to expect much; yet they were moved by the transient moments of happiness in the intermittent life together of George and Barbara. This is an account of that love affair and of the recovery by the author of the full story, fifty years later.

Bruce Arnold

Bruce Arnold is the author of a group of four novels called The Coppinger Chronicle set in England in the 1940s and 1950s. He has written a number of biographies of politicians, Margaret Thatcher, Charles Haughey and Jack Lynch, three books on Irish artists, William Orpen, Jack Yeats and Mainie Jellett, and a life of Jonathan Swift. His two books on James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, recount the legal battles that faced this controversial publication. He has just completed a life of the painter, Derek Hill.

Author:

Bruce Arnold

Category:

Memoir

Extent:

c.256 pages.

Size (H x W):

Hard/Paper 198mm x 130mm

ISBN HB:

978-1-901658-70-5

Price HB:

€7.00

ISBN SB:

978-1-901658-71-2

Price SB:

€5.00

Here are some of the reviews on this book

Irish Times Jul 15, 2008

The commentator Bruce Arnold's memoir of his father, a quite extraordinary, not to say impossible, character, is also exceptional. It is a tribute to the author's narrative sense and elegant style that we are not bamboozled by the pace of events, the succession of women, the staggering energy of this elderly man, and the lengths to which the well-connected English middle class on their uppers went to to keep the show on the road. These were indeed different times, and a different country. Bruce Arnold realised that what he got from his father was love, the greatest gift; he still feels its force, 'hitting me like the waves of the sea'.

Sunday Tribune Jun 28, 2008

Bruce Arnold's panoramically personal memoir is a compelling narrative of the intense affair between his father and the great love of his life, Barbara Young."... beyond such gifts, however, what is perhaps most poignant and of greatest benefit regarding Arnold's engaging autobiographical memoir is that, once you've set aside this exquisite recollection, you retain the feeling love is everything.

Books Ireland May 10, 2008

This is a strange and haunting book about a strange and haunting love story.

Irish Independant Mar 8, 2008

This is a book that is joyous and sad at the same time; a book that will be a treat for anyone who likes reading memoirs. It's a fascinating story, which in passing gives a great insight into the threadbare London of the '40s and '50s and also into boarding school life at the time. This book is all about love; about George's love for Barbara, and about the love between father and son. It is this quality of writing, acute observation and ruthless honesty that marks a similarity between this book and McGahern's memoir. Arnold's book deserves to be just as big a bestseller.

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