This novel by Cornelius Buckley, follows the two previous collections of poetry. The Last Irish Romantic, was launched by Gabriel Fitzmourice, the noted poet, at the Listowel literary festival. He described the collection as a striking series of works reminiscent of T. S Eliot and Michael Hartnett. The book was praised by the famous Dublin publisher and poet, Pat Boran, as a “truly distinctive debut volume”, and the noted British poet Bernard O’Donoghue described it as “brilliant”. Cornelius’s second collection, Poems from Heartlands, was published recently. It was uniquely innovative in that it contained both printed poems of note, but also hand-written poems woven into distinctive artwork by the author. The colour edition received fulsome praise. It has won the Pinnacle Book Achievement award, the San Francisco Literary Festival award for Poetry; the Author’s Circle award for novel of excellence, the Firebird book award, the Titan award, and the Outstanding Creator award. The Cottage continues that innovative approach. The poetry scattered throughout may seem extraneous, but it is an essential part of the character of the protagonist, a poet and lecturer in literature. It is partly autobiographical. But the novel also owes much to Agatha Christie as a mystery and as such should keep the reader guessing to the end. But it is more than that; the author feels that books should operate on different levels, and The Cottage also embodies literary riches and philosophies that should challenge the reader. It contains theological material also which some might shy away from, but it is part of the character of the author as a priest, and the protagonist as a deacon. The general quality of the work and its mystery should offset any criticism and make this a must-read, full of fascinating byways and twists of the imagination which make this a major work of literary excellence like the author’s previous praised and multi-award-winning poetic art.
Cornelius is a graduate of St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, and has a doctorate from Oxford University, where he specialised in modern American poetry. He has already published two prose works, Wheels of Light and Learn from Me, and is busy finishing two further novels, The Mountain and The Island. They should be published soon by whatever lucky publisher takes them up.