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Christopher Tayler: Patrick McCabe, 5 April 2001

Emerald Germs of Ireland 
by Patrick McCabe.
Picador, 380 pp., £14.99, January 2001, 0 330 39161 5
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... Just before the violent climax of Patrick McCabe’s novel The Butcher Boy, there’s a short sequence in which the damaged, dangerous young narrator, Francie Brady, pays a visit to the seaside town where his parents spent their honeymoon. His mother and father have been dead for some time – victims of suicide and drink, respectively – and Francie’s happy memories of them are pitifully scarce ...

Interesting Fellows

Walter Nash, 4 May 1989

The Book of Evidence 
by John Banville.
Secker, 220 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 436 03267 8
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by Patrick McCabe.
Aidan Ellis, 252 pp., £11.50, March 1989, 0 85628 180 8
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The Tryst 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 168 pp., £10.99, April 1989, 0 571 15450 6
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by James Hamilton-Paterson.
Macmillan, 264 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 333 45194 5
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... how intemperate passions are rooted in a heavy loam of the commonplace and the customary. In Carn, Patrick McCabe describes three decades in the life of a small Irish community. Carn is a small town situated half a mile from the Irish border, a town honoured in Republican annals for the heroism of Commandant Matt Dolan, shot dead in 1922 during a raid on ...

Guts Benedict

Adam Bradbury, 11 June 1992

The Wrecking Yard 
by Pinckney Benedict.
Secker, 195 pp., £7.99, March 1992, 0 436 20062 7
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Sacred Hunger 
by Barry Unsworth.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 241 13003 4
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The Butcher Boy 
by Patrick McCabe.
Picador, 217 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 9780330323581
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... art’ or pastiche: not until now, though, has it happened to the comic, which in the light of Patrick McCabe’s torrential and compelling The Butcher Boy is eminently suited to such treatment. Consider the Beano, for example, a series of moral tales repeated in only slightly modified form week after week. In a very simple way comics are about crime ...

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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... nationalist and the modern. If Ireland is to do the time warp again the icons will not be Yeats or Patrick Pearse but the Pogues, Riverdance and Enya, all offering different combinations of Celtic nostalgia and postmodern technology and commerce. What bothers Foster about all this is exactly what bothers him about the tourist and development brand Ireland. The ...

Down Dalston Lane

Neal Ascherson, 27 June 1991

A Journey through Ruins: The Last Days of London 
by Patrick Wright.
Radius, 294 pp., £16.99, May 1991, 0 09 173190 9
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... to tower over the nation like a baron’s castle over feudal fields. It was in that period that Patrick Wright published On Living in an Old Country, a book of essays which established him as the most interesting of the young cultural critics. He drew ideas from sources as diverse as Agnes Heller and Tom Nairn; in turn, his thought was rapidly and ...

Not a Damn Thing

Nick Laird: In Yeats’s wake, 18 August 2005

Collected Poems 
by Patrick Kavanagh, edited by Antoinette Quinn.
Allen Lane, 299 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 7139 9599 8
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... me: Still, I’d say $500 wouldn’t be too bad, wouldn’t you? This is a typical anecdote about Patrick Kavanagh, touching as it does on his unproductiveness (‘the ex-poet’), his peculiar connection to Yeats, his prickliness. Kavanagh was born in 1904 in the townland of Mucker in the parish of Inniskeen, County Monaghan. At 13 he left school to work for ...

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