Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

They Haven’t Gone Away, You Know

SHADOWS OF THE GUNMEN: VIOLENCE AND CULTURE IN MODERN IRELAND is a timely collection of essays from the Cork University Press, especially as many ex-Provisional IRA members and those of the Loyalist paramilitary forces have since the beginning of the Northern Ireland Peace Process diversified into a criminality shorn of political motive. Quoth the blurb elves:
Scholars have long understood the key roles played by violence in the making of modern Ireland. In recent years, studies on violence have become increasingly creative and sophisticated, as scholars have used new analytical lenses to confront the real challenges faced in “writing violence.” Much of the best work in this new literature examines the complex relationships between violence and its representation. SHADOWS OF THE GUNMEN provides a coherent introduction to the latest scholarship. The essays from historians, film scholars, literary critics, and philosophers, SHADOWS OF THE GUNMEN is both relevant to the particular Irish experience and the broader contemporary world. Violence may not speak, but violence is represented and these depictions are continually interrogated and /or contested in public and private arenas across Ireland and abroad. This volume of essays will explore and probe the connection between political/historical violence and aesthetic representations of such violence. The first interdisciplinary study of violence and the modern Irish experience, SHADOWS OF THE GUNMEN is a major contribution to both Irish studies and the broader examination of violence in the modern world.
Edited by Danine Farquharson and Sean Farrell, the book takes its title from Sean O’Casey’s play THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN (1923), which concerns itself with a man who may or may not be an IRA assassin. And while we’re on the topic, Crime Always Pays humbly suggests that students of the origins of hardboiled crime fiction should seek out Liam O’Flaherty’s THE ASSASSIN (1928), a novel based on a true event about an IRA killer who returns to Dublin on a mission of execution, and written in a stark style that prefigures the vivid reality of Dashiell Hammett and the stripped-back prose and staccato rhythms of James M. Cain.