TV and Radio

Radio review: Pressing 'pause' amid the busy days of Christmas

Co Down author David Park spoke about his latest novel Travelling in a Strange Land on RTÉ 1's The Book Show. Picture by Mal McCann

Today with Sean O'Rourke - RTÉ 1

The Book Show - RTÉ 1

TWO dramas to enjoy

Amid all the mad merriment, sometimes it feels right to press pause.

There was one such moment on RTÉ radio's Today with Sean O'Rourke when Christmas and mental health came up.

The gist was that there are "an awful lot of people out there who are dreading Christmas. Perhaps they are grieving. It's only a couple of days but sometimes they're a hard couple of days".

Maybe it was worth stopping for a moment.

The Book Show on RTÉ offered a warmer pause.

Recent guests included author David Park from Northern Ireland. He writes tender, beautiful stories.

His latest novel, Travelling in a Strange Land, is about a father driving through a snow storm to rescue his son who is ill and away at university.

Fathers and sons sometimes find it hard to share feelings, said Park, who makes connections with his own son through music and sport.

He has written extensively about the father/son relationship, drawing on his life experience, but not directly. He is very careful.

"I explained to my son that there would be some things in the book that he would recognise but I also explained that the book was not about him," he said.

It's Christmas and there is plenty to entertain.

I'm fond of that old French detective Maigret. Listen at midday on Radio 4 from Christmas Eve for an intriguing mystery about a Parisian Christmas when the neighbours call and say their niece claims Santa visited, gave her a doll and dug up the floorboards by her bed before leaving.

I'm also intrigued by Porcelain - a drama by Margaret Perry for Friday December 28 on Radio 4 with an Irish flavour.

It tells the story of Hat who grew up in the shadow of a fairy fort but also on the site of the 1895 murder of Bridget Cleary whose husband thought the fairies had abducted the real Bridget and left a changeling - so he murdered her.

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