A Ball of Fire
A Ball of Fire
John Montague, best known as a poet, is also a gifted prose writer. A Ball of Fire collects all of his short stories, together with the erotic novella The Lost Notebook (which he hoped to have banned, but which ended up winning a major literary prize).
In the shorter stories, from 'The Road Ahead', which comments poignantly on the loss of established landmarks, to the title story, in which a series of chance encounters helps unlock a painter s creativity, he casts a cool yet sympathetic eye over his environment, both in Ireland and farther afield.
The longer works -- 'The Lost Notebooks' (about the incendiary relationship between a troubled American girl and a young Irish man in Florence), 'Death of a Chieftain' (a daringly ambitious story set in Mexico) and 'The Three Last Things' (a moving meditation on love and death) -- stand as pillars within the book.
Montague's clear prose is shot through with hard-won insights into his fellow human beings, and the various burdens, physical and emotional, under which they labour. And of course through it all runs the theme of the importance of love, in its many forms.
About the Author
John Montague is one of Ireland's leading poets and his work, which draws on that of various American masters, is recognised as being of international importance. His 80th birthday in February 2009 was widely marked in Ireland in print and broadcast media.
Born in New York but reared in County Tyrone, John Montague rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with his collections including Poisoned Lands and the long poem 'The Rough Field'. Now with The Pear Is Ripe, he has confirmed his reputation as a dazzling prose writer and memoirist.