Fergal Keane is renowned in Britain for his television and radio reports – often from war-torn places – the underlying tone of which is humanitarian compassion. His experience as a foreign and war correspondent has given him an insight into the complexities behind most political situations.
In Wounds he brings this sensibility to the story of his own family and its interweavings with Irish history and politics. The Keanes are a well-known tribe of writers in County Kerry – his uncle, John B Keane, was one of the finest playwrights of rural life in Ireland – and Fergal’s early memories are of storytelling sessions with his father, Eamonn.
These stories went back into Irish history. Eamonn, who eventually died from the ravages of alcoholism, could vividly bring the Elizabethan past to life. English perfidy was a frequent theme, perhaps most eloquently (and seductively) illuminated by a regular visitor to their house, Dominic Behan, brother of the more famous