The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories by Patrick Taylor is a collection of warm and amusing short stories centering around Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly as he tends to his patients in the quaint, whimsical village of Ballybucklebo. This cozy Ulster village is home to a vast array of quirky, humorous and thoroughly entertaining characters. These charming and witty vignettes provide an amusing glimpse into an Irish country village of the early 1960’s.
This is the first of Taylor’s books I have read, and I must say his writing is a joy, with a lovely dose of subtle and sometimes wry humor thrown in for good measure. I definitely categorize this book as an easy read. A collection of comical articles previously published in medical monthly journals, these stories are the origins for Taylor’s Irish Country Novel series.
I love short stories. They are so easy to read for a busy mom who is always in a pinch for time. When I finally catch my breath and sit for a few moments, or before I close my eyes at night, I love to read a story or two.
These easy reading tales allowed me pick up where I left off every time. Whenever I laid the book down, I never lost track of the story line. Just perfect reading for a mom on the go.
1. About The Wily O’Reilly:
What better way is there to introduce you to the formidable, eccentric and charming Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly than through the author’s very own description found on the book’s jacket cover, where “newcomers to Ballybucklebo can meet O’Reilly for the very first time.”
“An ex-Navy boxing champion, classical scholar, crypto-philanthropist, widower, and hard-working general practitioner, Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly is crafty and cantankerous in these charming slices of rural Irish life. Whether he’s educating a naive man of the cloth in the facts of life, dealing with chronic hypochondriacs and malingerers, clashing with pigheaded colleagues, or raising a pint in the neighborhood pub, the wily O’Reilly knows a doctor’s work is never done, even if some of his “cures” can’t be found in any medical text!”
These charming and funny stories are told through the eyes of Dr. Taylor who is working alongside O’Reilly, the formidable Irish country doctor of Ballybucklebo.
2. About The Author, Patrick Taylor:
Patrick Taylor was born in 1941 and raised in Bangor, Northern Ireland, and now lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Taylor is a distinguished medical research worker, off-shore sailor, model boat-builder and seannachie (storyteller).
When he completed his medical education in Ulster, he first practiced medicine in a rural Ulster village similar to Ballybucklebo. In the early 1970’s his family emigrated to Canada where his medical career flourished as a renowned researcher and educator in the field of human infertility.
Taylor’s keen editorial eye and talent for the written word inspired him to contribute prolifically to medical literature. He was editor-in-chief of the Canadian Obstetrics and Gynaecology journal for ten years. In 1991 he commenced his monthly medical humor columns contributing to En Passant, Medicine Chest and Taylor’s Twist, followed by his appointment as book reviewer to Stitches: The Journal of Medical Humour.
In the mid-nineties Taylor began to write serious fiction. A number of works, all set in Northern Ireland, have now been published. A full list of his books is available on his website.
When not writing, Taylor, an expert navigator can be found at sea amongst off-shore racing crews. His love of the sea is evident in his frequent contributions of sailing humor to boating magazines.
3. My Review:
As an introduction to the Irish Country Doctor series, this book is a perfect starter for readers new to Taylor’s writing. I am thankful I read these tales before any novels recounting the antics of Dr. Fingal O’Reilly.
Some of the anecdotes told in this collection are familiar to me, purely and simply because I’m Irish. Fingal O’Reilly’s stories remind me of many Irish characters I have known throughout the years. He’s a witty combination of some of my relatives, friends and acquaintances.
When feeling homesick, these stories are perfect as a reminder of why I love Ireland and her people. Even if I only have a few minutes to spare a little Irish country story does my heart a world of good.
But rest assured you don’t have to be Irish to thoroughly enjoy these stories and wonderful characters. Taylor’s writing flows beautifully, his prose told in a warm, fond narrative. It’s easy to picture yourself right there in the middle of this small Irish town of Ballybucklebo, surrounded by a cast of heart warming characters. I would go so far as to say, reading his work without a smile on your face is probably next to impossible.
I checked out the reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. Those who previously read all of Taylor’s books in the O’Reilly series, found this short story collection to be a little bit of a letdown. The contents were originally columns that were the basis for the book series. Some readers voice their disappointment claiming these stories are a little “disjointed and lacking the depth of character Taylor builds in the novels.” But the same reviewer acknowledges that as “stand alones, they are good.” Again my conclusion is that I have been introduced to Taylor’s work at exactly the right time and with exactly the right book.
And so I warmly recommend this down to earth and easy to read book bulging with understatements of sly humor. I hope you too will enjoy how these little vignettes transport you to the little village of Ballybucklebo, where you will come to admire and laugh, both at and with, these Irish country doctors.
4. The Giveaway
Patrick Taylor has generously provided a copy of ‘The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories’ as a prize for one of Irish American Mom’s readers.
To enter our giveaway just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, July 12th, 2014 at noon. You can leave any comment you wish. What you write does not affect your chances of winning.
If you need some inspiration, why not tell us if you have a favorite Irish town or village.
A winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky winner.
The winner will be announced on Saturday July 12th, at the end of this post. I’ll send the winner an e-mail so I can mail the book.
Best of luck to all our entrants and a big thank you to Patrick Taylor for sharing his book with Irish American Mom’s readers.
We Have A Winner:
Congratulations to Mary Ann, who is our lucky winner.
Thanks to everyone who joined in and enter this little giveaway, and a big thank you to Patrick Taylor and his publicist for providing a copy of this wonderful book as a prize.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I do not receive payment for my book reviews. My first responsibility is to my readers and I am committed to honest reviews. All opinions given are my own.