Beyond the Pale


Hounds of the Morrigan: Favourite Books & Cosy Nooks

Hounds of the Morrigan, by the now sadly departed Pat O’Shea, was 10 years in the writing. It can be classed as a children’s book, but I have been reading it on and off since I was 11 years old, and it still remains one of my favourite books in the whole world. Such imagination, dark humour & a great cast of characters – I just had to honour it with a blog post and – of course – a selection of goodies inspired by fond memories of the novel itself…

Hounds of the Morrigan 1Hounds of the Morrigan 2

Direct links to items shown, left to right:

1st Row – 1) Levan’s Photography, 2) Earthworks Journals, 3) Maclancy

2nd Row – 1) C.D. Childs, 2) Madrin Photography, 3) Propellers

3rd Row – 1) Nesrin Dugan, 2) Tuscany Studios, 3) Shop Greyhounds

4th Row – 1) Pern Circlets, 2) Short Girl Designs, 3) Lee Imagery

The story is the age old battle of Good v Evil, in the same rich vein as Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence; but it’s really the cast of characters and the adventures they have together that always brings me back to the world Pat O’Shea created.

Hounds of the Morrigan

I always, always wished for another book from her, a continuation of the story, the chance to meet old friends. There is a tantalising glimpse of what might have been in her obituary, printed in The Guardian newspaper:

The few brilliant chapters of the unfinished sequel are almost worth publishing alone: a Christmas card scene, candelit shop windows, carol singers and a robin… and into this cheerful scene rides the great Irish witch the Morrigan with her wild sisters, bringing mayhem and magic and mischief.

*sigh* How selfish it is of us voracious readers to wish someone alive again merely so they could finish/begin a sequel. It’s all a bit Kathy Bates in Misery for words, but I do sort of understand that constant, gnawing wish for more.

Hounds of the Morrigan cover 3

Of course unfinished sequels always hold a power that a published book can never have (much as we mourn the loss of new songs from our favourite recording artists who died too young, or the films we’ll never see of actors who went before their time).

Hounds of the Morrigan cover 4It’s an aching void always begging to be filled with new material from rambunctious upstarts or delving into the classics to see from whence your favourite sprang… but you have to get over it each time the craving begins, or that dreadful self-pitying kind of mourning for what might have been starts to spread, like little spores of black mould in a damp bathroom.

Relish the tangible, that’s the cure!

Hounds of the Morrigan Cover 2

With this in mind, I feel I must very soon curl up in a cosy nook…

Cosy Reading Corner

Cosy Reading Corner by Homes and Gardens

…wearing something scrumptiously soft & a good pair of thick bed socks…

1940's Jaeger Bed Socks - Free Printable Pattern by V&A

1940's Jaeger Bed Socks - Free Printable Pattern by V&A

…heaped with blankets and cushions, drinking hot chocolate [possibly with a slug of something wicked in it] and reading The Hounds of the Morrigan for the umpteenth time!

Hot Chocolate

Oh, and don’t get me started on Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – another of my all-time favourites which I hold to my bosom and treasure like a rare jewel. And OH MY GOD – HOW did I not know that she’s written a [proper] sequel?! Ordered it immediately, of course. I may return to this to wax lyrical at length…

Ah, Howl, my first literary crush.

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Whatever your favourite cosy read is, I hope you have time to snuggle up with it, soon. I truly believe it’s balm for the soul, and most especially at this time of year, don’t you think?

Girl Reading by Fragonard

Girl Reading by Fragonard

Do share with me your favourite cosy reads – or the books you keep coming back to throughout the years – I’d be fascinated to know!

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5 Comments so far
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[…] Hounds of the Morrigan: Favourite Books & Cosy Nooks […]

Pingback by With Rings on Her Fingers and Bells on Her Toes… « Beyond the Pale

Wonderful piece. I was just about to write my own take on the book when I came across your blog in a search for inspiration.

What I love most about it is O’Shea captured a certain sense of Irish whimsy that we have lost since the days of James Stephens or Flann O’Brien.

Lovely book.

Comment by Somnopolis

Thank you! That means a lot to me – it’s such a fantastic book (in every sense of the word) and I just had to blog about it. Do write your take on the book, too – I’d love to read it!

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

Done and done 🙂

http://www.somnopolis.net/2009/11/28/the-hounds-of-the-morrigan/

Comment by steviemonkey




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