Bright Bewildering Green
By: John Hughes
‘A story remarkable because commonplace in rural Ireland – the surplus child, the tragedy of the extra mouth.” —from the Foreword by John Stalker
“Powerfully written, with the vivid clarity of a naive painting.”
—Roy Foster, Book of the Year, The Irish Times
Bright Bewildering Green is a vivid, harrowing tale – told from the emotional security of middle age – of an impoverished childhood in rural Northern Ireland during the 1950s and early ’60s. In its detailed evocation of the realities of life for an orphan family on an Armagh hill-farm, the sentimentality of the family pig is bled to death. William vents his frustrations on John, his sensitive youngest brother, and severe beatings lead to the boy’s collapse and treatment for epilepsy until he escapes to Coventry.
Inherited pluck and fortitude sustain him in a strange city, and from an achieved tranquillity the author allows himself to reflect upon the horrors, and occasional joys, endured as a child and faces them with dispassion. This compelling narrative is the record of a survivor.
“A heartening, eloquent but dispassionate testimony to the triumph of determination over adversity. Hughes shows himself to be a writer of unusual talent, clarity and perception.” —Albert Smith, Irish Independent