Before the Wax Hardened
By: Adrian Kenny
On his first trip abroad, Adrian Kenny observes that the signs are in one language only. There is no need for translation: there is nothing behind. Not so in his suburban childhood and adolescence, where Mayo is behind Dublin, poor fields behind bourgeois drawing rooms, wildness behind authority. Attached to both, the attempts of Adrian Kenny to reconcile them take him from close certainty to total collapse in the year of change – America 1968.
“What was it all for?” his father asks.
“It’s like the end of the Aeneid,” whispers his friend.
“You came at the end of that world,” Father Wilmot says. The end of Latin Mass, maids, floggings and charcoal suits.
First published in 1991, Lilliput is proud to reissue this portrayal of a generation, to which the author’s keen eye and clear style lend the truth and elegance of a classic.
“He brings maturity to bear on the past, without making a parable of it. Most of all he makes the past seem as it really is, swimming about inside us. This is a great book altogether.” –The Irish Times
Adrian Kenny was born in Dublin in 1945, and educated at Gonzaga College and University College Dublin. He has worked as an English teacher in Ireland and abroad, and as a freelance journalist. He is the author of The Feast of Michaelmas (novel, 1978), Arcady (stories, 1983), Before the Wax Hardened (autobiography, 1991), Istanbul Diary (1994), The Family Business (1999) and Portobello Notebook (2012). He has also published an edition of the journals of Arland Ussher, and a translation of the 18th century Gaelic poet An Caisideach Ban. He is a member of Aosdàna.