The Shortest Day

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Title: The Shortest Day

Writer: Colm Tóibín

Publishing House: Amazon Original Stories

Date of Publication: November 3rd 2020 

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Thus, it was the strangeness of the night sky and the seasons that they loved and missed, the strangeness of fire and water, the strangeness they noted in each other.’’

It is Christmas and there is magic in the air for children and adults. For the professor of our story, this is the time to discover the answer to a riddle that has been haunting him for far too long. The burial chamber of Newgrange, a site older than Stonehedge, older than the Pyramids, a secret place that fiercely protects its hidden treasures and its valuable ray of light. Guarding Newgrange, the spirits of the age of old are willing to catch a glimpse of the mortal world but they won’t give up their secrets.

‘’We are spirits. We do not want to associate with the visible world.’’

‘’He is a man alive in the world. He is capable of anything.’’

Colm Tóibín creates a beautiful, atmospheric story about the shortest day, the longest night and the unbreakable bond between the present and the past, the world of the living and the land of the dead. The influence of History on our lives, the wisdom of our ancestors who were once ignorant mortals. In the burial chamber, mythical Ireland is given a vivid voice as the spirits of the past (dating back to the days of the legendary Cuchulain) are waiting for the light of the shortest day of the year.

The ceremonies and rituals of the pagan past that fascinates and mystifies us and the risk caused by today’s need to know everything, refusing to understand that, sometimes, we all need to stay silent and listen carefully are perfectly joined in this wondrous story where respect and reverence open a small window to the past.

‘’The rays of sunshine that beamed into the chamber on the shortest day nourished them through the darkness of the year to come. The light appeared precisely on the winter solstice, as they had planned. It shone in the morning. Within a short time, all trace of it was gone. It made them feel that they still belonged to the world they had lost as the darkness folded around them once more’’

Many thanks to Amazon Original Stories and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Read more about Newgrange here: