The Parish and the Hill
The Parish and the Hill
Mary Doyle Curran
This 1948 novel tells the story of three generations of an Irish immigrant family.
Publication Date: 05-01-2002
Afterword by Anne Halley
This re-issue of a 1948 classic novel tells the story of three generations of an Irish immigrant family through the eyes of a young girl. Living in a Massachusetts mill town in the 1920s, the O'Connors are caught between the desire to move out of the "parish" (the Irish shanty town) and up onto "the hill." Brilliant and painful on the themes of alcoholism and social class, it is a powerful exploration a family struggling to find their place in America.
"The beauty and depth of [Curran's] writing recall the most powerful of Willa Cather's works, which deal with the hard- won education and independence of a gifted young woman. It is grand to have The Parish and the Hill back in print." —Maureen Howard, author of Facts of Life
"To genteel Irish palates Mary Curran's broad, colorful, unrelieved descriptions may seem as strong and fiery as the undiluted Irish whiskey." —New York Times Book Review
"This lyric and haunting novel about three generations of Irish immigrants deserves a visible place in the multi-ethnic tradition of American literature. Through the working-class consciousness of its female narrator, it celebrates the democratic ideals of the early O'Sullivans who find themselves among Yankee, Polish, and 'lace-curtain' Irish neighbors in a mill town in western Massachusetts. The text's classic storytelling, mythic framework, and memorable minor characters make this a most 'teachable' novel." —Margo Culley, professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"By using their own words and the perspective of a young girl narrator, Mary Doyle Curran not only recreates three generations of an Irish immigrant family but poignantly evokes their faith in the American dream, their bewilderment as they see their hope fade, and the dignity with which they accept their roles as outsiders." —Mary Anne Ferguson, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Boston
"Mary Curran was my teacher at Wellesley in the late forties, the only teacher I had at college who asked new questions. She first published The Parish and the Hill in those years, telling the truth about Irish-Americans as she taught us to seek the truth in other less conventional, uncanonized literature. I celebrate the republication of her moving novel and its story of class, bondage, and the courage of women in the early days of Irish immigration to the United States, and in the hard years that followed. This is a fine novel from those dark, postwar years by a memorable woman who illuminated those years for me and many others." —Carolyn G. Heilbrun, author of Reinventing Womanhood