“And the city before her, she now realised, was as fragile as the roses, constantly renewing itself, but a finite thing, an illusion.” – One by One in the Darkness
One by One in the Darkness is beautifully written. Penned by Deirdre Madden and first published in 1996, it concerns itself with the lives of four women and how they come to terms with the violent times they experience by living in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The story begins with Cate, the glamorous rebel daughter who works for a fashion magazine in London, returning to her childhood home in the Northern Irish countryside to announce to her mother and two sisters that she has become pregnant out of wedlock.
As the story unfolds in layers of enmeshing narratives, the tragedy at the heart of the family history is slowly unveiled. The sisters experienced an idyllic childhood and the violence of the event that will change their lives and break the charm of that utopia hovers on the edge of the story’s horizon like an impending storm.
The narrative is certainly tragic and demonstrates just how devastating violence and conflict can be and how it can completely destroy communities and individuals, down to their very core. The fact that the idyll of childhood is depicted so warmly by Madden only adds to the ensuing shock that will so radically change the world view of these women.
I read One by One in the Darkness while experiencing deep cravings for fruit and spices. I love eating hot breakfasts when the weather starts getting frosty and this recipe for Autumn Fruit Crisp from Marta Greber’s whatshouldieatforbreakfasttoday, is delicious and the perfect start to a cool day. My favourite ingredient is the dried cranberry which gives an added kick to the plums and spices. Served with thick yoghurt to counterbalance the sweetness, it is a breakfast well worth making.