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Family and Dysfunction in Contemporary Irish Narrative and Film

Marisol Morales-Ladrón

Institutionalized through religious, moral and political discourses, the family has become an icon of Irish culture. Historically, the influence of the Church and the State fostered the ideal of a nuclear family based on principles of Catholic morality, patriarchal authority, heterosexuality and hierarchy, which acted as the cornerstone of Irish society. However, in recent decades the introduction of liberal policies, the progressive recognition of women’s rights, the secularization of society and the effects of immigration and globalization have all contributed to challenging the validity of this ideal, revealing the dysfunction that may lie at the heart of the rigidly constructed family cell. This volume surveys the representation of the concepts of home and family in contemporary Irish narrative and film, approaching the issue from a broad range of perspectives. The earlier chapters look at specific aspects of familial dysfunction, while the final section includes interviews with the writer Emer Martin and filmmakers Jim Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan.

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Interviewing a Writer and Two Film Directors

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Asier Altuna-García de Salazar From Escaping to Facing Dysfunction: An Interview with Emer Martin Irish writer, artist and filmmaker Emer Martin was born in Dublin in 1968. After leaving Ireland at an early age, she has lived in many other places, such as London, Paris, the Middle East and the United States. While in the States, she graduated in English and Fine Arts Painting from Hunter College, CUNY in NY, and also obtained a Diploma in Multi-media Design and Production from NY University; she would later finish an MA in Cinema from San Francisco University. In 2000 she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. She is author of three main novels to date: Breakfast in Babylon (1996), which was awarded the Book of the Year Prize at the Listowel Writers’ Week; More Bread or I’ll Appear (1999); and Baby Zero (2007), released in the US in 2014. Her fourth novel, with the provisional title The Cruelty Men, will be published in 2016. Although she finds herself more comfortable with the genre of the novel, she has also written numerous short stories ‘only when asked to’. Her short fiction has appeared in Rover’s Return (1998), Shenanigans (1999), Fortune Hotel (1999), Let’s be alone Together (2008), Red Lamp, Black Piano (2013) and A Telmetale Bloomnibus (2013) and, also, in various literary magazines worldwide. In 2014 she published her first collection for children Why is the Moon Following Me? Emer Martin’s writings are a clear exemplar of dysfunction, among many other issues. She...

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