It’s Ireland in the 1950s and they’re both running away, Curly from failure as a dancer in New York and Mary from the utter boredom of Ballymalloy in the West of Ireland.
Mary is seduced by his flashy car, his collection of great swing music and his style on and off the dance floor. She succumbs and to atone for the inevitable shame he has caused her, he has to give her the only thing she wants – entry into the unforgiving world he thought he’d left forever. He trains her as a jazz dancer and enters her into a competition that offers her a ticket out of town.
The book probes the lives of several inhabitants of Ballymalloy and reveals some funny desires, efforts and strivings. It also probes some horrifying goings on in the workhouses and the industrial schools to which were sent thousands of unwanted children by the church and the religious orders over the decades. Details of these tragic and often fatal stories are still emerging in modern Ireland. However, this story is set in a less complicated time, when America felt good about itself and was admired all over Western Europe. When American technology was supreme and when jazz and bop ruled the world.
Dermod Judge is an Irish author currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. He has had a varied career in storytelling across theatre and film – from broadcasting, writing, designing, directing and filmmaking. Dermod is an international award-winning filmmaker, script editor and international lecturer on storytelling and filmmaking. Lately he has returned to the writing of novels and published Clash (ISBN9781912083879) and Two Jam Jars for the Manor (ISBN 9781912083053) with The Book Guild in 2017, both of which were set in Ireland with Irish themes.