Chad Schimke

Saturday, April 14, 2012

BLUEBELL MEADOW


BLUEBELL MEADOW –This story is set in Ireland, between the turbulent timeframe of the World Wars. Bluebell Meadow by Benedict Kiely is about a Catholic high school girl and a Protestant boy that have an innocent flirt, but never a full blown romance. Members of their communities observe their flirtations, nipped in the bud by politics. The title’s namesake (Bluebell Meadow) is a beautiful tree lined park, near a waterfall and an aqueduct teeming with salmon. Lofty, the boy, impresses the unnamed protagonist with his fishing abilities. There is an allusion to Romeo and Juliet, but the characters never fall in love. The story is framed by one of the boy’s infractions; he gives her bullets, which she hides in a jar on the mantle.  The story ends with a haunting image of a park that was once a peaceful place. Fast forward 30 years and it’s become a wasteland destroyed by bombs. In an understated way, Ireland’s devastating legacy of religious conflict, cause the young pair to never know one another or what they might be missing. Benedict Kiely is one of Ireland's best writers, with nine novels and four volumes of short stories.

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