A photograph of Ciaran O'Driscoll at the age of eight or nine, taken by his father, shows him as a radiantly smiling child. Usually in childhood photographs, that child looked pensive and distant, because the man who had the power to transform him to smiles rarely exercised that power. And why so rarely, when it is so easy to make a child smile? In this memoir of his childhood, O'Driscoll examines his troubled relationship with his father, whose bullying and mental abuse has affected him profoundly throughout his life. It was difficult eugh for the young boy at home, but his father was also a teacher and humiliated him further in front of his peers at school. The task the author has undertaken is to give voice to the voiceless: to express the unnerving pent-up emotions he was unable to express as a child. The feelings do t age ; and so the narrative moves back and forward, from the child's trauma to the author in the present, as he attempts (with and without the aid of therapy) to re-live his painful memories and come to terms with them. In A Runner among Falling Leaves , Ciaran O'Driscoll unearths his anger and sadness in a candid exploration of his early life.
Ciaran O'Driscoll is a prize-winning poet, who teaches in the School of Art at the Limerick Institute of Technology.