Castles & Ruins: Unraveling Family Mysteries and Literary Legacy in the Irish Countryside
by Rue Matthiessen
Decades after spending a summer in the Irish countryside with her parents—author Deborah Love and National Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen—Rue takes her young family back to Ireland to revisit locales from that season in the sixties. As a guide, she has her mother's poetic book, Annaghkeen, named for the castle that overlooked their home in Galway.
What begins as a simple, nostalgic trip quickly becomes something far more complex. As Rue approaches Annaghkeen Castle and digs deeper into her parents’ literary legacy, a trove of memories is unearthed, forcing her to reckon with a childhood fraught with the stormy energy of two brilliant parents often at odds with each other and their children.
Both a rich and informative travelogue and a profoundly emotional memoir, Castles & Ruins celebrates the triumph of creative success while frankly appraising the often-terrible costs a family must pay for it.
Rue Matthiessen is based on the East End of Long Island and in New York City. At Bard College she majored in literature, and afterwards was a journalist for The East Hampton Star. She is an alumna of the Squaw Valley writer’s conference, Bread Loaf, and Curtis Brown Creative. Her completed works include a novel, Woman with Closed Eyes, a novella, The Toast, and a collection of essays on family life, loss, creativity, and fulfillment, Blastocyst. Her book, Buttonwood Cottage, about renovating a house in the Caribbean, is available on Amazon. Her essay, There Was a Time was featured in the summer issue of EAP: The Magazine. Two of her essays, Real Life and LSD & Zen, were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Rue’s memoir, Castles & Ruins, about growing up in an ambitious literary family with author Deborah Love and 2x National Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen as parents, will be published by Latah Books in 2024.