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, contemporary, Irish fiction, nostalgia, 1960s 180 printed pages, paperback First published in Ireland, in 2014, by The Manuscript Publisher ISBN: 978-0-9576729-4-9
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