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Post-Matricide

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 PatrickMcCabe’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 ...
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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Carn 
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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Gerontius 
by James Hamilton-Paterson.
Macmillan, 264 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 333 45194 5
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... balaclavas and faces righteously agawp with warlike rant; the native eye is better-trained to see how intemperate passions are rooted in a heavy loam of the commonplace and the customary. In Carn, PatrickMcCabe 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 ...

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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... forms of entertainment are sooner or later hauled aboard the ship of highbrow art, whether as ‘pop art’ or pastiche: not until now, though, has it happened to the comic, which in the light of PatrickMcCabe’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 ...

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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... cultural innovation. And it thrived on its own version of the time warp – the fusion of the folk 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 ...

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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... Thatcher regime’s systematic destruction of local authority, it looked as if London itself was about 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 ...

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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... might. k: I dare say you might get $500. me: You might, indeed. k: You might even get $1000? 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 ...

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