I believe I picked this up because Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended it in a list of books that could be read in an afternoon. It is, indeed, a very short novel, so on that score it was worth that particular recommendation. However, it was not my cup of tea. I’m honestly a bit baffled as to why so many people love this book so much? I cannot understand how so many people find this to be charming.
A bumbling and horny old priest visits with a parishioner in a town in Ireland – the occasion for this visit is the death of her ‘husband”, Kevin. Kevin had implored the priest to hear some confession of his on his deathbed, but he suffered a stroke before he could deliver, but managed to intrigue the priest with the fact that he and his “wife” were never actually married. This rouses the priests attention because he’s actually always assumed, due to their carefree nature, these two were at it like rabbits behind closed doors. Since Kevin dies without fully spilling the beans, it falls to Enda to share The All of It.
The story of how this pair came to be known as a married couple is … fine. It’s a story where two people who didn’t have much suddenly have the world at their feet, which I can admit is charming. I didn’t find it to be told in a revelatory way, honestly. The priest sort of struggles to understand this unconventional relationship – and to tease out the nature of the sins here, because he’s all about morality – but really, it seems like he’s just really hot for Enda and will do anything to listen to her talk (and maybe find out she’s totally available).
There are fishing scenes. I’m told that people really found these to be funny.
In the end, the story comes out, ALL of it, and it’s maybe an allegory and definitely symbolic, but also not nearly as explosive as the initial confession.
So, we have: decent writing, a horny priest with salmon fishing skills, a non-marriage with a secret, and a handful of new-to-me Irish terms related to fishing. You might be amused – many people suggest it’s a little gem of a novella and if I squint I can see how that could be an apt description. You won’t get a ringing endorsement from me, but I also won’t fight you if you’ve loved it (and I WOULD love to hear from someone who really loves this book because it fascinates me that so many do).