“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.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Boy And His Bullet

Anthony Quinn, author of DISAPPEARED (Mysterious Press), has a superb essay over at the Mysterious Press blog on his experience of growing up in Northern Ireland at the height of ‘the Troubles’. An excerpt:
“My tenth year was an overwhelming one for me, brought up as a devout Catholic, receiving in my hands something as frightening as a bullet marked for my father, and then something as holy as the consecrated Body of Christ. You would have thought the latter would have negated the former. The good cancelling the bad. The brutal gift of the bullet reversed by the redeeming gift of the Eucharist. However, it didn’t work out like that. One inflamed the other, like throwing raw alcohol on a wound. To this day, I can still feel the imprint of the bullet in my hand.
“The experience left me feeling conflicted in ways that are hard to explain. I became a deeply spiritual teenager with a guilty fascination for IRA violence. I listened obsessively to the daily morning, noon and evening news bulletins, tuning in to the litany of bombings and shootings, which were always delivered by the newsreader in the same monotone voice with which he announced the weather. I was frightened and at the same time thrilled by what I heard, and I wasn’t the only one. Listening to the hourly radio news became a national pastime during the Troubles. Many of my generation were addicted to those little charges of excitement that flow from bad news, swinging from dread to overwhelming relief and satisfaction, and then back to apprehension again, waiting pensively for the day that the news bulletin heralded a personal tragedy. We were the children of the 1970s, and when darkness fell, we brooded on bullets, guns and bombs. The violence terrified us, but, to an extent, it also entertained and diverted us. Many of us became hooked on it.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

1 comment:

lil Gluckstern said...

The struggle and the impact of that time are painful and important for us here in the U.S. to read. We never really got it although we certainly have prejudice and hatred here. Thank you for writing about this. The U.S. is so insular sometimes.