• Boyd Letters


22nd June, 1970.

Mrs. Mennna Gallie,
38 Parkside,

Dear Menna,

I return your proofs which I read during a fairly hectic
weekend - ranging from a visit to Donegal to make a recording
with Brian Friel to a visit to the Mournes with three lively
Africans! Any comments must be treated with proper disrespect -
as usual.

I don't think you have made any major, or indeed minor
howlers. I have enclosed a lot of tiny textual minutiae
jotted these down without a dictionary to hand, and sometimes
late at night. So double check them. Hope you can make out
my writing.

Now for the novel itself. I. think the descriptive
writing is brilliant. Also all the women characters. You
deal less successfully with men. Caroline and Una are fine
creations. Sarah too - except I think she should think more
often of her dead husband. Both the professor and the
journalist are incompletely realised, particularly the journalist.

Towards the end the material seems to swamp you. The
Welsh lad added a complication which distressed me. I am a
great one for keeping to a fairly straight story line. This
of course, may be the dramatic discipline that binds me down.

I was very worried indeed by the melodramatic note towards the
end. Cried outs "God, restraint, restraint" - you galloped over
bogland and mountainside like Lochinvar or somebody. I wanted
to say "Calmez-vous"!

Ther you are. I hope I get a letter in return!

Yours sincerely,


John Boyd
1970 Jun 22nd
Friel, Mournes
Linen Hall Library, "Boyd064", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Fri, 02/03/2023 - 10:14, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/boyd064