Liam O 'Flaherty, one of Europe's great short story writers, describes the horrific consequences of the potato famine in Ireland in an intense and merciless manner.
The novel turns on the three-generation Kilmartins household in the Black Valley, which fights for bare survival. For anyone interested in the destiny of Ireland, the book offers an excellent introduction.
Misery, hunger, hopelessness and death cannot be described more vividly, as can the transformation of humans and animals into apparently dulled beings who are forced to act obnoxiously by the drive to survive.
Yes, this is a dark novel that makes you think and sad. But the cruel deaths of almost a million people during a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849 should too!