The soul of a wistful Irishman imprisoned in the avatar of a straight-laced trooper whose duty it is to enforce the British laws regardless of sentiment. A diligent and rigidly disciplined exterior would be imperative armour for the protection of such an empathic and humane inner world. The dichotomy in Michael Adair’s psyche must have been torture! The fact that he spent the night respectfully conversing with the man he would eventually have to kill is testament to a benevolence and courage I doubt I would be able to muster. I am certain I would be seated with the gruff and seemingly uncaring men around the fire, trying to distance ourselves from the humanity of Daniel Carney and the abhorrent task we must perform in the morning.
Reading this book I was continually reminded of the beginning scenes from the film “The Crying Game”. This 1992 movie became famous for a very clever plot twist, but for me it always raised so many other questions. The relationship between Fergus and Dil brings up the eternal question of what love actually is. However it was the relationship between Fergus and Jody in the beginning of the story that kept creeping up while I read “Conversations at Curlow Creek”. Fergus was an IRA member and Jodi was a kidnapped British soldier in Fergus’s custody. It is easy to hate someone from a distance.; to imagine the ‘enemy’ as an evil person who is void of emotions and decency. How can you maintain that contempt if you actually talk to the person and begin to understand their humanness and the path that lead them to be on the ‘side’ that they are on? Life is very rarely cut neatly into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’.