Edited By Marisol Morales-Ladrón
Inés Praga – Home Revisited: Family (Re)Constructions in Contemporary Irish Autobiographical Writing
← 84 | 85 →INÉS PRAGA
‘This is what literature is for, after all, to map the invisible route home’
ABSTRACT: The last decades have seen a proliferation of life writing – both fiction and non-fiction – very much concerned about the healing power of (re)constructing and restoring family memories. The works examined here recall the experience of growing up in mid-century Ireland evoking a Catholic childhood and home; hence the great importance of the family. The first group is made up by four semi-autobiographical novels: Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy (1992), Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People (2003) and two novels by John Banville, The Sea (2005) and Ancient Light (2013). Memoirs are represented by Memoir (2006) by John McGahern, Country Girl (2012) by Edna O’Brien, and Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody? The Life and Times of Nuala O’Faolain (1996) and Almost There (2003). Finally, we deal with Every Single Minute (2014) by Hugo Hamilton, which continues and merges the memories of the author with those of Nuala O’Faolain. In addition, the (un)reliability of memory is largely discussed, as well as the plurality of discourses it generates, highlighting the recurrent family pattern ‘absent father – unhappy/invisible mother’ both in fictional and non-fictional autobiographical writing.
Revisiting home through memory has been a recurrent practice in Irish literature and an excellent strategy for x-raying the Irish family, nowadays flowering in different forms: autobiographies, memoirs, essays, letters, ← 85 | 86 →diaries and a long etc. In...
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