The Walking People
by Mary Beth Keane
The Walking People is the name for the gypsies of Ireland in the 1950s. As the word gypsy implies, they traveled from place to place to make they're living, never settling in one spot for long. Michael Ward's people are Walking People but he is different. He longs to settle in just one place. So at the age of 17 he travels with the Cahill sisters, the vibrant and restless Johanna and the quiet and resourceful Greta, to America where he settles down and starts a family.
There is so much more to the story than that but I couldn't really tell you what the book was about. It never seemed to get anywhere. Even the dramatic scene where Michael is in a mining accident failed to excite any interest in me. I did like the characters in the beginning but that faded once they arrived in America. It was dull from beginning to end. If the point was to represent the Irish immigration process of the 1950s then I believe it failed at that. I would have been more interested by reading a non-fiction about it. I'm disappointed. I had higher hopes for this one.