Paul King, an Irish landowner, is dying; his wife is half his age. He has not allowed his wealth to spread ease or comfort. When he dies, his handsome young workman Paul is urged by a cunning mother to move in on the vulnerable young widow.
The Power of Darkness reflects a fallen world. The title is a description of the force that drives it; sexual ignorance and the old fear of famine lead to irrational greed, coupled with the need for redemption.
John McGahern was born in Dublin in 1934 and brought up in the West of Ireland. He was a graduate of University College, Dublin. He worked as a Primary School teacher and held various academic posts at universities in Britain, Ireland and America.
In the opinion of the Observer, John McGahern was 'Ireland's greatest living novelist'. He was the author of six highly acclaimed novels and four collections of short stories, and was the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship, the American-Irish Award, the Prix Etrangere Ecureuil and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Amongst Women, which won both the GPA and the Irish Times Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a four-part BBC television series. His work has appeared in anthologies and has been translated into many languages. His last book, Memoir, was published in 2005. John McGahern died in 2006.