Thin Places is a rich combination of memoir, nature writing and history examining the way borders--constructed and natural, visible and unseen—can shape a life, and how the tug of landscape and our connectedness to a place informs our identity. In a series of achingly honest, deeply personal, vividly descriptive prose essays, Kerri ni Dochartaigh makes the connection between Ireland’s troubled history and her own traumatic past, and how ever-present violence changes you in countless, unknowable ways. There is a heavy darkness over much of this memoir--alongside the unspeakable horrors and enduring effects wrought by The Troubles are the author’s own personal stories of trauma and abuse and loss, of addiction and depression. So much sorrow here to contemplate, but also so much gorgeous, exuberant nature writing and so much hopeful wisdom—reflections on the process of healing, on seeking stillness, on resurfacing and reclaiming, on processing grief, on acceptance and letting go, and ultimately on finding a path forward to hope and healing by seeking solace in the mysteries and beauty of the natural world and spending time in its liminal spaces. Luminous and moving, eloquent and affecting, Ed loved and highly recommends!— Ed
“Memoir and folklore weave together in this haunting story of a childhood unfolding during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, capturing a burning desire to find balance and peace. Superbly beautiful, raw, and heartbreaking writing.”
— BJ Hegedus, Postalworks Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA
An Indies Introduce Selection for Winter/Spring 2022Both a celebration of the natural world and a memoir of one family's experience during the Troubles, Thin Places is a gorgeous braid of "two strands, one wondrous and elemental, the other violent and unsettling, sustained by vividly descriptive prose" (The Guardian).
Kerri n Dochartaigh was born in Derry, on the border of the North and South of Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a council estate on the wrong side of town--although for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year, they were forced out of two homes. When she was eleven, a homemade bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like n Dochartaigh's, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape.
In Thin Places, a luminous blend of memoir, history, and nature writing, n Dochartaigh explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone's throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard and terror to creep back in. N Dochartaigh asks us to reclaim our landscape through language and study, and remember that the land we fight over is much more than lines on a map. It will always be ours, but--at the same time--it never really was.