“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No Country For Grand Men

Crumbs! No sooner had the dust settled on the entirely unnecessary ‘Great Post-Troubles Norn Iron Novel’ baloohaha than Joseph O’Connor, in the context of reviewing Gerard Donovan’s collection of short stories COUNTRY OF THE GRAND, starts banging on about the ‘Great Post-Celtic Tiger Novel’ over at The Guardian, to wit:
“Some of Ireland’s wisest literary commentators have been troubled in recent times by a reticence they perceive among the country’s writers of fiction on the matter of the new prosperity. The novelists have told us nothing – thus runs the argument. An Irish Amis has proved reluctant to appear.
  “Like most debating stances, it obscures as much as it reveals, but its assumptions are more enlightening than its conclusions. Mass-market fiction, the historical novel, the thriller, the crime novel and other incarnations of genre-based storytelling have not been judged worthy of critical notice, no matter their level of engagement with the now deceased Celtic Tiger. Where is our Bret Easton Ellis? Our BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES?”
  In the prevailing spirit of self-biggery-uppery, as modelled by Master Bateman when he voted for I PREDICT A RIOT during the halcyon days of the GTPNIN debate, I’m going to say that blowing up a hospital is a metaphor for deconstructing the Celtic Tiger, and in particular the way Ireland shot its economic boom in the foot (or paw, if you will), because that’s the kind of malarkey the literary types who decide these things seem to like, although I may not be entirely serious in doing so on the basis that novels lauded as ‘the Great [Insert Your Own Pet Obsession Here] Novel’ generally tend to be anything but because they’re too busy trying to disguise the self-aggrandizing promotion of half-baked theories therein. Or is it just me?

3 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

It's not just you.

Declan Burke said...

Is it just both of us?

Sinéad said...

Declan, you should read Country of the Grand if you get a chance. It's an excellent collection.

Hope the little 'un is well.