Marginal Footnotes


Books, Belfast and Various Literary Awards
September 27, 2006, 11:15 am
Filed under: Books, International, Literary, Uncategorized

So the “Web Log of the Mercantile Library, Cincinatti, Ohio” is horrified that

This Human Season, Louise Dean’s completely stupendous book about Belfast in 1979 that will make you cry and forsake all other books unless you are completely heartless, is not on the Man Booker short list.

This interests me because it’s a novel about Belfast, and I lived in Belfast for a while. And there are some very good novels about Belfast, such as Robert McLiam Wilson’s Eureka Street or Eoin McNamee’s less good and more problematic novel Resurrection Man, a sardonic take on what is known as “Troubles trash”, a reference to fiction born out of the nearly four-decade long conflict in Northern Ireland (roughly 600 novels by 200 authors). Also Glenn Patterson, Brian Moore and various other very fine and horrifying writers.  Graham Greene once went to Belfast looking for evil, but he apparently didn’t find it and consequently did not publish a novel set there. Anyway, Belfast fiction is tricky because it’s difficult to represent honestly and unexploitatively the history of violence there, difficult to not overdo it, to paint a picture of Belfast which is all spy-thriller intrigue, all murderous psychopathology and religious friction, when in fact Belfast can be quite a nice town.

You can read The Guardian’s review of the novel here. 

–mpd   

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