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This Side of Brightness

Essays on the Fiction of Colum McCann

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Edited By Susan Cahill and Eóin Flannery

Colum McCann is one of the most important Irish writers in contemporary literary fiction. His work has been critically acclaimed across the globe for its artistic achievement, its thematic range and its ethical force. This Side of Brightness: Essays on the Fiction of Colum McCann is the first collection of scholarly essays to deal with McCann’s œuvre, drawing on the pioneering critical work of some of the leading figures in Irish literary studies. Touching on a host of central themes in McCann’s writing – emigration, race, performance, poverty, travel, nationality and globalization – the volume covers each of McCann’s publications and includes a substantial interview with the author. The book is an invaluable resource for current and future scholars of the Irish novel.

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Eóin Flannery ‘Troubles’ Trilogy: Everything in This Country Must

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Narrating the ‘Troubles’ The Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ have been well represented within the novel form. Michael Storey estimates that as many as five hundred novels deal with the cultural geography and the political history of the conf lict.1 While Aaron Kelly suggests that in the region of ‘four hundred thrillers have been produced over the last thirty-five years in response to the current phase of political upheaval in Northern Ireland’.2 In equal measure the conf lict has been widely poetically mediated, as well as being dramatized theatrically – and each of these genres have received considerable literary critical attention, both comparatively and in their own right. However, with a few exceptions, the representation of the ‘Troubles’ in the short story form has received considerably less critical attention. Most recently, Ronan McDonald has published an accomplished essay, ‘Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles’,3 while Storey’s Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction is the sole book-length survey of this literary genre and the history of the Northern ‘Troubles’. My primary foci in this discussion of McCann’s collection, Everything in This Country Must, will be the logic of operating within the abbreviated parameters of short fiction in narrating 1 Michael Storey, Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2004), p. 10. 2 Aaron Kelly, The Thriller and Northern Ireland since 1969: Utterly Resigned Terror (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), p. 1. 3 Ronan McDonald, ‘Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of...

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