• Title: Woodbrook
  • Author: David Thomson
  • ISBN: 9780099359913
  • Page: 144
  • Format: Paperback
  • Woodbrook Woodbrook is a rare house that gives its name to a small rural area in Ireland not far from the old port of Sligo It has been owned since the seventeenth century by the Anglo Irish Kirkwoods In
    Woodbrook is a rare house that gives its name to a small, rural area in Ireland, not far from the old port of Sligo It has been owned since the seventeenth century by the Anglo Irish Kirkwoods In 1932, David Thomson, aged eighteen, went there as a tutor He stayed for ten years.This memoir, acknowledged as a masterpiece, grew out of two great loves for Woodbrook and foWoodbrook is a rare house that gives its name to a small, rural area in Ireland, not far from the old port of Sligo It has been owned since the seventeenth century by the Anglo Irish Kirkwoods In 1932, David Thomson, aged eighteen, went there as a tutor He stayed for ten years.This memoir, acknowledged as a masterpiece, grew out of two great loves for Woodbrook and for Phoebe, his pupil In it he builds up a delicate, lyrical picture of a gentle pre war society, of Irish history and troubled Anglo Irish relations, and of a delightful family Above all, his story reverberates with the enchantment of falling in love and with the desolation of bereavement.

    One Reply to “Woodbrook”

    1. Near the old port of Sligo in Ireland is a large house called Woodbrook; it is so well known that the area around it also takes its name from the house. A family called the Kirkwood have owned the house since the seventeenth century. At the age of eighteen David Thomson was appointed as a tutor to Phoebe Kirkwood in 1932. He ended up staying 10 years. In this memoir, he describes how he came to love the house and the region, and how he slowly fell for his pupil. As well as the story of the famil [...]

    2. A wonderful memoir, this, of a man reflecting back on his youth—of his wanting to belong, of his finding and embracing a home place. David Thomson first came to Woodbrook, a small estate belonging to an Anglo-Irish landed family on an inevitable downward economic spiral, as an 18 year old student to tutor the family’s daughters and stayed through World War II as a farm hand. According to his telling, Thomson falls deeply in love with his student, Phoebe, who is seven years his junior—enoug [...]

    3. This book brings together many strands of writing: memoir, history, folklore, social and political analysis. Above all, it is a love story; love for a place and for a family. David Thomson went to rural Roscommon in the West of Ireland to act as a tutor to a family of Anglo-Irish aristocrats. The Kirkwood family had been in Ireland for centuries but a combination of frivolity, irresponsibility and bad luck had caused their fortune to dwindle and for them to fall on hard times. Thomson tells the [...]

    4. Because my father was alive and living in the area that the book is based on I was fascinated by the stories told, the people mentioned, the history which was shared as living stories. I first read this book many years ago while my father was still alive however I was too young at the time to ask him the questions I would like to ask now. I wish that I could remember our discussions about the book however I only remember basics such as his view that the book was fairly true to life at the time. [...]

    5. It's difficult to know what to say about this one. Mr. Thomson writes a very detailed portrait of life in a big house in 1930s & 40s Ireland, and it I found that aspect of it fascinating. So too were most of his historical lessons, especially the section on the workhouse and relationship with the landowners during the famine of the 1840s. Those interested in history would definitely enjoy this book.However, Mr. Thomson does not paint a very sympathetic portrait of himself and he's hard to li [...]

    6. I thought it was fiction! Some of it must be. A romance with Ireland. Given me by my son who was in love with an Irish woman (now his wife). I just re-read it six years later and decided on a fifth star, as much for the Irish history (so sorrowful) as for the memoir itself, which is poignant and elegaic.

    7. This book is a game of two halves; on the one hand, a lyrical account of rural Ireland before and during World War 2, on the other a disturbing account of a young man's obsession with a prepubescent girl. The memoir explores Thomson's relationship with the Kirkwoods, an Anglo Irish family, and their beautiful, decaying estate near Sligo. His descriptions of rural life, the family and their dependents and, particularly, his depiction of the agricultural seasons are accomplished and vivid. I would [...]

    8. This was an enjoyable book, but hard to read. The descriptions of the Irish countryside made me want to drop everything and immediately get on a plane to visit the places spoken of. This book also opened my eyes to how the Irish people were treated SO poorly by the English. I knew it was bad, just not THAT bad. It was hard to read because the story jumped between David Thomson's personal story and the history lessons and I really just wanted to follow the personal story, with a little more relev [...]

    9. Absolutely brilliant evocation of an Ireland that has passed. His insights as an English man into ordinary West of Ireland life are very well observed, especially for one so "innocent" in the colloquial sense!

    10. This is such a good read. As the book cover says, it is a memoir and it covers aspects of the history of Ireland in general and the Kirkwood family and their home specifically. It is also a curious love story of the author, David Thomson, and his pupil Phoebe Kirkwood. It is set in a more innocent age than this one so there is nothing gross or salacious about it despite the age gap. The whole thing is beautifully written and a joy to read.

    11. A heavy going read on essentially the history of the West of Ireland from famine time to post WWII. A very interesting read but from my perspective an historical account far more than the love story it promises. Also, I found the love story side of things a bit disturbing as Phoebe was only a very young girl and he an 18 year old scholar from London. It just felt a bit "wrong".

    12. This was not an easy book to read but it was a good history of the Irish and all the political and religious turmoil they went through. It is also a love story. My ancestors did not have an easy time of it and the book explains a great deal about why they came to America and just who they were.

    13. This book is interesting if you want to get a sense of Irish history and culture, that's what kept me reading. There are better books in fiction and non-fiction that do that. Because of its format, this one is perhaps easier to read than some of those. As a novel, the story line was thin.

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