‘The Country Girls’
Sir, – In her analysis of Edna O’Brien’s trilogy The Country Girls (“Rigorous, beautiful: ‘The Country Girls’ trilogy”, Weekend Review, September 16th) Eimear McBride refers to the frequently mentioned allegation of the public burning of O’Brien’s novel by a priest in Clare. In a letter to this paper on November 23rd, 2015, Tom Stack points out that this widely accepted allegation has been checked out and that “no evidence whatsoever” has been found to substantiate it. Eimear McBride’s concentration on negative Catholic reaction to The Country Girls lacks balance. She fails to acknowledge the positive reaction of Fr Peter Connolly, then professor of English at Maynooth, who defended the work on grounds of literary merit. Fr Connolly’s positive contribution to the debate is generously acknowledged by Edna O’Brien in her book, Country Girl: A Memoir, published in 2012. – Yours, etc,
Maynooth, Co Kildare.