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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tangled Up In BLUE

The paperback of Eoin McNamee’s ORCHID BLUE has finally arrived, and a very handsome piece of work it is too. It also features, and for the very first time to the best of my knowledge, a pull quote from one of my reviews on the back cover, during the course of which I described ORCHID BLUE as ‘A stunning meditation on the nature of justice’ (Irish Times, Top Ten Thrillers 2010).
  Chuffed? Yes, and particularly because ORCHID BLUE is a superb novel from one of Ireland’s finest living novelists. It raises more questions than it answers, as all the great novels do; in fact, I’m very tempted to open it once more, and get tangled up in its haunting web of lies all over again.
  I reviewed the novel at length late last year, and found myself writing this kind of thing:
McNamee has described the noir novel as a very ‘Calvinist’ kind of storytelling, with its undertones of implacable fate and predestination. What hope is there for a person if he or she has been fingered by Fate before they’re even born? And what hope if the ultimate arbiter of justice - God, for the most part, although McNamee’s arbiter of justice in ORCHID BLUE is Justice Lance Curran - is already prejudiced against the person in the dock?
  For the full review, clickety-click here
  I also got to interview Eoin, last November, in which he waxed lyrical about the ethics (or otherwise) of writing novel-length fictions based on true-life crimes. To wit:
“You’re always walking a moral tightrope,” he agrees, “to a certain extent. Looking back it seems quite easy, the story is what it is. But when you start talking about historical fact, you’re not really talking about the facts at all, you’re talking about the historical record. And that’s a different thing entirely to what the facts were.
  “So you are making judgements all the time, asking yourself where you should take it, wondering if you’ve taken it over the line. But it’s an artistic line you don’t want to cross, if I can put it that way. If you get it wrong in the moral sense, then you get it wrong. But I’m a writer, not a priest. And as a writer, you answer to the god of fiction.”
  For the full interview, clickety-click here
  Incidentally, Eoin’s contribution to DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS is a very fine essay called ‘The Judge’, in which he explores his personal take on the historical and moral backdrop to ORCHID BLUE, and the murder of Pearl Gamble. In my humble opinion, it’s a piece of writing about crime fiction that’s worth the price of admission alone. The book will be officially launched on June 7th in the Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, with a further launch in No Alibis, Belfast, on June 18th, with the bulk of the contributing authors appearing at both launches. If you fancy a sneak peek at GREEN STREETS prior to that, just clickety-click here


Michael Malone said...

I got this on your recommendation, Declan and it was an outstanding read.

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Mr THomas said...

Noir Nation