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On the highway

Jonathan Coe

24 March 1994
Desperadoes 
by Joseph O’Connor.
Flamingo, 426 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 00 224301 6
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Resurrection Man 
by Eoin McNamee.
Picador, 233 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 330 33274 0
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Stir-Fry 
by Emma Donoghue.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £9.99, January 1994, 0 241 13442 0
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... of interesting new writing coming out of these islands at the moment is either Scottish or Irish. One explanation for this phenomenon, fairly obvious but persuasive nonetheless, is put forward by DermotBolger in his introduction to the recent Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction. Today’s Irish writers, he claims, have inherited a self-confidence ‘and (through Joyce and Beckett) a sense of ...

Mothering

Terry Eagleton: The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Tóibín

14 October 1999
The Blackwater Lightship 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 273 pp., £15, September 1999, 0 330 38985 8
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... least that would be something ‘normal’ they could talk about. Revealing or not revealing what you are is a way of trying to make contact with a mother, not a condition in itself. Roddy Doyle and DermotBolger rank among Dublin’s so-called Northside realists, creating a world in which compulsively blaspheming council-estate dwellers keep cocaine in the bath and horses in the kitchen. This novel ...
30 August 1990
People of the Black Mountains. Vol. II: The Eggs of the Eagle 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 330 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3564 6
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In the Blue Light of African Dreams 
by Paul Watkins.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 09 174307 9
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Friedrich Harris: Shooting the hero 
by Philip Purser.
Quartet, 250 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7043 2759 7
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The Journey Home 
by Dermot Bolger.
Viking, 294 pp., £13.99, June 1990, 0 670 83215 4
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Evenings at Mongini’s 
by Russell Lucas.
Heinemann, 262 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 434 43646 1
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... the Hero’. If Harris were real, he would be a suitable subject for discussion by Mrs Thatcher and her team of historians, in some ethnopolitical seminar. But then, perhaps Friedrich Harris is real. DermotBolger’s novel about Ireland, The Journey Home, is evidently in earnest. It begins with a youth and a girl hiding in a ditch, hearing the boots of policemen above their heads: they are on a journey ...

Let’s Do the Time Warp

Clair Wills: Modern Irish History

3 July 2008
Luck and the Irish: A Brief History of Change c.1970-2000 
by R.F. Foster.
Penguin, 228 pp., £8.99, July 2008, 978 0 14 101765 5
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... the fact that Irish writers write not only for the book-buying public at home, but for a huge diasporic audience. Whether the w0rk of Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, Colm Tóibín, Patrick McCabe and DermotBolger constitutes a ‘new direction in Irish fiction’ is less certain. The major trope of Irish fiction is certainly no longer Modernist paralysis but change – Tóibín’s second novel, The ...

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