From the arrival of his first ancestor in Dublin in 1560, Simon Loftus traces the fascinating story of his family’s heritage in Ireland – piecing together fragments of legend and biography that span over 350 years of Irish history.
The background is the colonial conquest of Ireland and the clash of religious and national identity, but the focus is close at hand, familial. The passions and eccentricities, the daily concerns and relationships, the rich dramas and anecdotes of individuals in this Ascendancy family – over eight generations – combine to form an enthralling memoir of shifting viewpoints and entertainingly inconsistent accounts of a shared past.
The Invention of Memory is a profound family portrait and a sweeping history that examines the nature of recollection and how our memories are shaped by experience and time.
‘Spell-binding, full of treasures and often extremely moving.’ – Selina Hastings
‘A series of beautifully rendered evocations of landscape, people, attitudes, emblems and events. It treats the sweep of a melancholy history with the utmost poise and discernment.’ – Irish Times
‘A wonderful excursion through history, illuminating more famous events of Anglo-Irish history through the delicious, inconsequential details of Simon Loftus’s family.’ – Matthew Fort
‘A powerfully evocative mixture of biography and legend, peppered with heart-warming and heart-wrenching anecdotes.’ – Financial Times
‘Apart from the sheer enjoyment of Loftus’s exhumations, his thoughts on the multiple uses of ‘the memory of a past that never was’ deserve to be pondered.’ – Times Literary Supplement