Bravado City – Gerry Leech
If one did not know this was a work of fiction it might be thought of as a personal reminiscence, a fictionalized memoir of sorts, so vivid and realistic are the descriptions
“Born right into the Irish gift of gab, Mr. Leech is a brilliant writer and orator. His love for, (and knowledge of), Literature, Dublin and Irish History enriches the story of Michael Foley.” – Barbara Williams Sheperd
The narrative centres upon one Michael Foley, a sixty eight year old Dubliner who left his home city for London at the age of twenty. He now lives alone in London and is crushingly lonely. He has a son and a daughter, both living in the USA. His beloved wife Grace died tragically six years ago after being struck by breast cancer.
This tale is set in Dublin in the latter part of January 2013.
Michael is considering repatriation and has come to Dublin for a month on an exploratory mission to that end. Prior to his arrival he has made appointments with all the necessary people and organizations in the rigmarole of extricating himself from the bureaucracy of the British establishment and meeting with their counterparts in the Republic.
The story begins when he has completed all of the enquiries and, after a breather, he sets about contacting his own family and friends in Dublin who are, as yet, unaware of his presence. He is staying in a beautiful Georgian house on the North Circular Road which is run by an elderly couple, who are a comedic feature of the story.
Told over a period of seven days the tale covers his reunion with his brother and two sisters as he tells them of his plans. A close friend, Peter, lives in Bray, south Dublin and shared a thirty year social life with Michael in Camden, London, before his own repatriation with his wife four years previously. Through pub crawls, Hooleys and sumptuous dinners Michael is consistently searching for the elusive something that will herald his decision to return home permanently. He meets an unsavoury character from his youth who tries to tag along with Michael on his meanderings through his beloved city, but is rebuffed, politely. Later in the story the individual reappears and the situation becomes quite nasty.
But he also encounters the quick wit of his fellow Dubliners, a characteristic he misses intensely, and finds himself inspired with a new enthusiasm that has long been missing in his life. He also notices the crippling austerity his family and friends are enduring and becomes embarrassed by the wealth he has inherited from the estate of his late wife.
From the Guinness Storehouse, to Trinity College, and all the landmarks of Dublin city, to all the literati pubs of his youth he wanders; sometimes accompanied and sometimes alone he recalls with great relish amusing and embarrassing events of his youth. But he is still undecided, and as he acknowledges his advancing years, can he, and more importantly should he make such a tremendous upheaval, when Dublin is only an hour flight away from Heathrow.
His sister Bridget remarks to him in a tender moment, ‘Michael, yeh look so lost, so yeh do.’
‘ Bridget, you can only be lost when you have a destination, I honestly don’t know where I’m going.
This book is a must read for all who enjoy a poignant, moving and evocative tale well told.
“Far too many new Kindle authors fall into the trap of being far too ambitious in their plotting, narrative and characters but Gerry Leech has got it just right and is to be greatly congratulated for this. The narrative is finely paced, the settings evocatively described – yes, this must be his native city, surely? and the plot itself undemanding. The result is a fine blend of qualities that combine to make a truly high quality and professional novel.” – John Hancock
About the Author
As the eldest child of the family, his move to Britain nearly 50 years ago was a matter of survival. He has managed to make a successful life in England though and, despite looking forward to his annual return ‘home’ to Dublin and admitting to occasional thoughts of repatriation, is content to remain in his adopted home of London where he lives with wife, Kim.
Popular publication, The Irish Post, ran an article on Gerry and Bravado City which you can read here.
“This book would be of interest to anyone who has returned home from living abroad. It spends a week with the main character Michael Foley as he considers whether to come back home to Dublin. Having made this move myself without any research (!!) the thought processes in Michael’s head were interesting to read.” – S Gallagher
As an author myself, I know and appreciate Mr. Leach's talent and the endless hour it took him to create this magical story of Michael Foley. I recently purchased two hard covered copies of Bravado City for my bookshelf. I am happy to once again endorse it. It is a wonderful read. Barbara Williams Sheperd. Author of the children's novel, Under An Eagle's Wing.
Thank you, Barbara. I agree completely that Bravado City is a truly magical story.