Confronting Violence in Contemporary Prose Writing from the North of Ireland
Chapter 5: Whodunnit or Who Didn’t Do it? Authority and Poetic (In)Justice in Eoin McNamee’s The Blue Tango and Orchid Blue
Whodunnit or Who Didn’t Do it? Authority and Poetic (In)Justice in Eoin McNamee’s The Ultras, The Blue Tango and Orchid Blue
Crime fiction, or detective fiction, is undoubtedly a privileged fictional space in which to probe, configure and reconfigure the aesthetics of violence in contemporary society in the North of Ireland and to contest the ‘rhetoric of sameness’ found both in crime novels themselves and criticism of them which tend to reduce the history of violence in the North to a ‘single, configurative narrative of violence’ (Kelly 5). Against this possibility of dehistoricising the North, crime fiction, as Kelly goes on to point out, also ‘facilitates a more subversive logic, which attempts to trace and confront the seemingly unfigurable complexities, and criminalities of the state’ (Kelly 24). The author of crime fiction (or what might be more adequately described as thrillers) also penned under a pseudonym, Eoin McNamee occupies a specific space in crime/thriller fiction from the North. As well as contributing to the thriller genre, he also delves into the world of violent crime in his ‘literary’ fiction for which he has received significant critical acclaim. Contrary to his novels written under the John Creed pseudonym which adhere to the impetus of most contemporary crime fiction, however, McNamee’s ‘literary’ novels do not so much lead towards the gradual discovery of ‘whodunnit,’ but rather who didn’t do it. In Resurrection Man (1994), The Blue Tango (2000), The Ultras (2004), 12.23 (2007) and...
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