Conclusion: Violence, Dislocation, Truth and Vision 315
Conclusion Violence, Dislocation, Truth and Vision In his Preface to Creatures of the Earth (2006), his last collection of short stories, John McGahern wrote: ‘The imagination demands that life be told slant because of its need of distance’ (CE, vii). For me, this is further confirmation of the connection between imagination and memory that I have attempted to trace in McGahern’s creative activity; the need for dis- tance may have to do with perspective on the particular and the shaping of the latter into a larger vision, but it most certainly also has to do with the breathing space between the life experience and its recollection that McGahern found necessary before the past could be re-imagined. But the distance his imagination needed to open was the distance his memory sought to close and that tension is what powers McGahern’s art of memory. In his review of Creatures of the Earth, Karl Miller proclaimed McGahern’s Memoir to be ‘at least as satisfying, in its candour and imaginative fervour, as any of his stories’ and went on to ponder: ‘What does art add, in this case, to autobiography? The answer should make room for the thought that the memoir and the variously gifted novels and stories are all of them art. They drink from the same well’.1 Indeed, McGahern’s short stories tell the same story of grief, guilt, and anger as the novels and many readers before Miller have noted the con- nections between them. Patrick Crotty, in fact, considers ‘Wheels’, from...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.