Beyond pundits and onto politcs
Now I'd like to say a few words about politics and history, since Northern Ireland's Troubles may well haunt the imaginations of Irish writers for quite some time. That prime minister of Northern Irish crime fiction blogging, Gerard Brennan, wondered recently why The Dead Yard was the least popular of McKinty's Michael Forsythe novels in the U.K. Here's part of what he wrote:
"Maybe it’s because this is McKinty’s ‘Troubles’ book. ... We have seen a hell of a lot of work based on the ‘Troubles’. Ireland and the UK are coming down with IRA stories. Some are better than others, and in this case, much better, but at the end of the day, people are looking for new settings and themes. America, however, still has quite an interest in this kind of thing, especially among the Irish-American communities. With the luxury of distance, they maybe have a romantic idea of the struggle and are open to more from this sub-genre. And McKinty has given it to them in spades."The Dead Yard sees Forsythe infiltrating a breakaway IRA cell in the United States on the verge of the Good Friday Agreement in 1997. At this stage, everyone wants to silence these guys (and women), not least the main IRA, and McKinty manages the not easy feat of making them pathetic and terrifying at the same time.
I suggested to Gerard that if we in America still have an interest in stories about the Troubles, it might be because we're ready for McKinty's deromanticizing of them. Of course, though my name is Peter O'Zovsky, I'm not Irish. I don't know how crime fiction about the Troubles resonates in the numerous large Irish communities in America.
(For another view of the Troubles and their afterlife in Northern Irish crime fiction, see Brian McGilloway's comments to this blog about his novel Borderlands. McGilloway wrote, in part, that
"I wanted to write a non-Troubles book but, around the Border, it would be unrealistic to assume that they're not there somewhere — thus the only representation of the Troubles in Borderlands is the disembodied voice, talking about the past. It's there, but increasingly insubstantial. Or that was my intention, at least.")I don't know what if any relevance this has, but I think McGilloway is about ten years younger than McKinty.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2008