In Sight of Yellow Mountain by Philip Judge
Martina Devlin, Audrey Brennan and Philip Judge, at the 44th Annual Hennessy Literary Awards in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
In Sight of Yellow Mountain
Irish-born actor Philip Judge and his “Beloved” leave their Dublin apartment behind and buy a home on an acre of Wicklow land. They now have the best of both worlds: stunning views over Sliabh Buí, a serene environment to raise their two young boys, yet are close enough to commute to the city when required.
Judge disappears occasionally, to tread the boards, but returns to rural life with boundless enthusiasm and a desire to don his wellies and appropriate “country” attire. Split into four seasons, the author leads each section with descriptive passages of the flora and fauna (the latter of which he delights in killing for consumption) and a glimpse at family life on his homestead.
This mainly consists of planting and digging a small plot of vegetables, chopping firewood, cutting the grass on a borrowed ride-on lawn mower and doing the laundry. “Male Farmer Friend” donates newborn lambs to hand-rear and then slaughter. There is an arrogant tone, despite the attempted lightness: “I was reclaiming my patrimony: the land of my fathers – and mothers.”
The rural Irish reader may not be impressed.