Valley of the Squinting Windows

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Valley of the Squinting Windows
BrinsleyMacNamara TheValleyOfTheSquinting Windows.jpg
Author Brinsley MacNamara
Country Ireland
Language English
Genre Novel
Published 1918 (Mercier Press)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 224 p. (paperback edition)
ISBN 0-947962-01-8 (paperback edition)
OCLC 14521257

Valley of the Squinting Windows is a novel by Brinsley MacNamara (born John Weldon), set in the fictional village of "Garradrimna", County Westmeath, Ireland. The book was originally published under another pseudonym, Oliver Blyth.

While McNamara insisted that Garradrimna could represent any village in Ireland, geographical landmarks mentioned in the book suggest that Garradrimna corresponds to the actual town of Delvin, to which the book does not refer by name.

The novel would, probably, have been received as an unremarkable tale of Irish life were it not for the immediate scandal when first published in 1918 and the ensuing ramifications.


It told a story of rural life, the power of gossip, public perception which people attempted to present of the family and individual, and of an inward-looking society, similar to the Keeping up with the Joneses theme.

The stir created by the book caused the author's schoolmaster father, James, to be boycotted, and eventually he had to emigrate; the author himself never returned to the area.

The novel resulted in a high-profile court case by those who thought that they had been described. Hostility against the book led to its burning.

MacNamara's novel has been reprinted several times, particularly when interest in the topic re-emerges. Valley of the squinting windows has become a colloquial term, particularly in Ireland, for a society obsessed with providing neighbours and peers with a good perception of one's personal matters.

Release details[edit]

  • 1918, London, Sampson Low, Marston, Pub date 1918, hardback
  • 1976, Ireland, Anvil Books ISBN 0-900068-35-3, Pub date ? September 1976, paperback
  • 1984, Ireland, Anvil Books ISBN 0-900068-83-3, Pub date 11 July 1984, paperback
  • 1984, Ireland, Anvil Books ISBN 0-900068-82-5, Pub date 11 July 1984, hardback
  • 1985, Ireland, Anvil Books ISBN 0-947962-01-8, Pub date ? September 1985, paperback (in print)