Pádraic Ó Conaire, mórúdar de chuid nualitríocht na Gaeilge, agus beirt de na mná i mbeatha an Chonairigh (Caitlín Ní Aodha is Mary Morrison) na príomhphearsana san úrscéal seo. Saothar é Beirt Bhan Mhisniúla a ghluaiseann ó Mheiriceá Thuaidh go Londain go Baile Átha Cliath go Meiriceá siar arís sna blianta 1913-1928.
Blaisimid de shaol na nÉireannach is na Gaeilge sna blianta roimh 1916 i Londain, áit ar chuir Caitlín Ní Aodha, Ceanadach, aithne ar an Chonaireach, go ndearnadh leannáin díobh agus gur chreid Caitlín go bpósfaidís … gur nocht an fhírinne shearbh gurbh fhealltóir é an Conaireach a raibh ceangal na gcúig gcaol air.
In úrscéal ina dtarraingítear ar théamaí móra i scríbhinní Uí Chonaire féin, an grá agus an feall, is ar chrann Mary Morrison a thiteann sé teacht i gcabhair ar an té a loic ar a cara, Caitlín, is le fáil amach an bhfuil buille sa bhéim fós sa Chonaireach mar fhear is mar scríbhneoir …
Pádraic Ó Conaire, a central figure in contemporary Irish-language literature, and two of the women in Ó Conaire’s life (Caitlín Ní Aodha and Mary Morrison) are the central characters in this novel. Set in the years between 1913 and 1928, the action in Beirt Bhan Mhisniúla moves from North America to London and Dublin before returning once more to North America.
We are given a taste of what life was like before 1916 for the Irish (and Irish speakers) in London, where the Canadian woman, Caitlín Ní Aodha, first met Ó Conaire. It was in London that their relationship became intimate and she believed, for a time, that they would be married… She soon learned that Ó Conaire had lied to her and that she wasn’t the only one he had lied to either.
In a novel that draws on two of the major themes from Ó Conaire’s own writings, love and betrayal, it falls to the second of the women, Mary Morrison, to come to the aid of the man who has failed her friend Caitlín, and to put Ó Conaire to the test, both as a man and as a writer.