Archives for Belfast

Book review: Ghost Moth

This story by Michèle Forbes opens with a woman, Katherine, who when swimming out of her depth encounters a seal. What begins as an encounter with nature becomes something more chilling, hinting at the depths of the story about to be told. “…it is his eyes – the eyes of this wild animal – that terrify Katherine the most; huge, opaque and overbold, they hold on her like the lustrous black-egged eyes of a ruined man.” Katherine’s fear when encountering the seal is a mystery until much later in the book, when we understand the memories it disturbed. Ghost Moth by Michèle Forbes [below] is the story of Katherine and George, the beginnings of their love in 1949 and its endurance until death in 1969. The setting is Belfast: in 1949, post-War when Katherine sings Carmen in a local opera production and meets Tom, the tailor who sews her costume and flirts with her. Tom, who forces Katherine to examine the nature of her feelings for boyfriend George. Tom, who tempts her so she can never forget him. And Belfast, wrought by The Troubles in 1969 when even Katherine’s small children are challenged on the street for being of the
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

I agree with… Michèle Forbes

Michèle Forbes “In retrospect, it was obvious it was something I knew and it had resonance. I was born there, grew up there, and I felt I had to reconnect with the place. I guess there is something of a preoccupation because I left; there is almost a guilt.” [in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, September 20, 2013] Forbes was born in Belfast and her debut novel Ghost Moth is set in Northern Ireland. Although she was keen to avoid it being labelled as ‘a book about The Troubles’, she felt compelled to write about the place of her birth. I understand the feeling that draws a writer homeward. One of the two key protagonists in my second novel Connectedness was born in Yorkshire and grew up where I grew up. I didn’t plan it that way, somewhere along the road of character development, writing exercises, putting myself into Justine’s head, I realised she came from East Yorkshire, like me. It was fact. That wild eastern edge of Yorkshire which juts out into the North Sea and is battered by the bleakest of winter weather shaped Justine as it shaped me. It drew me to explore how landscape impacts on
Read More

Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Connectedness' and On Writing.