Donegal Gymnasts
Seamus McCrudden

Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden. Published by The Manuscript Publisher, 2014.
Donegal Gymnasts
Seamus McCrudden

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About the Author

Seamus McCrudden hails from Glenfinn, Co. Donegal, the birth place of Isaac Butt, Glenfinn’s most famous son until local lad, Frank McGlynn, won an All-Ireland medal for the county in 2012. He still lives in Donegal, with his wife Breege and four daughters: Aisling, Arlene, Aimee and Megan. He is based in Ballybofey, where he works as a bus and taxi driver. Everyday events and the people whom he encounters in the course of his work have inspired his writing.

He is also involved in local writers and drama groups. He traces his interest in writing and drama back to his childhood. "I was always writing bits and pieces at night but they usually ended up in the bin. Then, about 15 years ago, I got involved in local drama ... . I liked it and took part in a few shows, including a few for the nearby Butt Drama Circle in Ballybofey. That gave me the confidence to go on and go public with my writing."

Donegal Gymnasts is Seamus McCrudden's first full-length novel. His work has appeared in other media, including local community newspaper, Finn Valley Voice and in 2014, he came third in the Patrick MacGill poetry competition.

What have Donegal, the Tunnel Tigers, Chinese twins, a nurse, the Vietnam War, the Montreal Olympics and a coming of age tale got in common? They are just some of the ingredients that make up an exciting, debut novel from Seamus McCrudden. Donegal Gymnasts is a story that has a bit of everything: comedy, drama, romance, joy and sorrow, the journey from innocence to experience.

Jack and Jake are twin brothers of Chinese and Irish extraction, growing up in Donegal in the 1960’s with their adoptive parents. Early on, they demonstrate a natural aptitude for gymnastics. Their 'twin talents' are fostered and developed through the encouragement of family, friends, teachers and those close to them. Thus, they set out on roads offering the prospect of fame and fortune but, with many twists and turns, including triumphs and setbacks, along the way.

Their paths diverge when one heads off for England, to pursue a gymnastics career, while the other enlists in the US Army, serving a term in Vietnam. When they meet up again at the Montreal Olympics, they are competing against each other and representing their adopted countries. They have been through a lot, however and have learned from their experiences. Through it all, the bonds of family and friendship endure, keeping them close, reminding them of who they are, helping them to see through the mists and fogs, the trials and tribulations of growing up under a spotlight of one sort or another.

Donegal Gymnasts is a tale about people who follow their dreams, no matter what obstacles they encounter. It is an exploration of love and loyalty with a narrative and storytelling style that is simple but well plotted. As the story unfolds, it manages to peel back the layers and in doing so, reveals the complexities associated with lives that are intermingled with love, loss, tragedy and triumph.

Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden
Fiction - Irish and contemporary fiction. 169 pages, paperback.
First published in Ireland in 2014 by The Manuscript Publisher
ISBN: 978-0-9576729-4-9

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Reviews for this Book

What have Glengesh outside Ardara, the Tunnel Tigers, Chinese twins, a nurse, the Vietnam War, the Montreal Olympics and a coming of age tale got in common? They’re just some of the ingredients that make up an exciting debut novel from a Ballybofey based writer. ‘Donegal Gymnasts’ is a heart-warming piece of fiction that will entertain, thrill and take the reader of a journey from one end of the world to the other. - Connie Duffy, Donegal Now

I came across this book Donegal Gymnasts by chance. Having lived away from Donegal for a long number of years now it was the title that attracted me to buy it … and I'm so glad I did! This is a lovely story set in an era where life was simple yet vulnerable to loss and suffering. I enjoyed the journey with the main characters … the twins … who determinedly follow their ambition. This book made me laugh and made me cry. It is an easy read and captured the mindset of ambitious people who keep going until their goal is achieved. Written with humour it makes a very pleasant light read. - Margaret B. (on Amazon)

Just purchased Donegal Gymnasts. Could not put it down when I started to read it. A wonderful story that captures every possible emotion of Irish life told in a unique fashion. Really enjoyed the read and would recommend highly. A must for an exile's book shelf. - Séan T (on Amazon)

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