Local rather than international, the dramas and privations described in this memoir are not the stuff of headlines. This is the story of an ordinary boy growing up in Belfast after the war; an ordinary boy who would go on to become world-famous as a hostage in Beirut and author of the extraordinary testimony of imprisonment and survival that was An Evil Cradling.
Brian Keenan has captured the vanished world of 1950s Belfast in all its vivid vernacular and grey, post-war austerity. I'll Tell Me Ma is an affectionate story of a disaffected childhood. At the centre is a shy, self-conscious boy of unusual moral integrity; a boy puzzled by religion and sectarianism, in love with books and music and full of curiosity about the world outside. It is also a book about coming-to-terms with the past: a resounding, thrilling record of redemption.
Brian Keenan was born in Belfast in 1951. An Evil Cradling is the story of his four years' captivity in Beirut and is recognized as a non-fiction classic. He is also the author of the novel, Turlough and two travel books, Between Extremes (with John McCarthy) and Four Quarters Of Light. He lives with his family outside Dublin.