Falling in love with broken things can be described as a coming-of-age narrative or Bildungsroman. Alive with crisp images, the poems range from childhood memories of freedom and enchantment to the uncertainties of adolescence and young adulthood. Unflinchingly, they look at early experiences of loss, at complex and ambivalent family relationships and the mysteries of love and heartbreak. Moving outward geographically from the nucleus of family, countryside and school, to university years and further to a wider world beyond Ireland, the poems’ courageous and attractive honesty and emotional depth are achieved through the poet’s control of poetic techniques and language, and her unique blending of traditional forms and “spoken word” styles. Alvy Carragher is a skilful and sensitive poet who, astonishing in someone so young, possesses a high degree of psychological insight and tact, and her portrayal of the emotional undercurrents between people is at the same time forceful and subtle. It is a first collection that will resonate with and delight readers, a book they won’t want to put down until they have finished it in one sitting.
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