Sunday, 21 September 2014


So this week I did finish a book, so I did. It was the third in Tony Macauley's series about growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, so it is. He writes it entirely in the dialect that we all spoke in Belfast at time, so we did, and yousns might not understand a blind thing in it!

He went to up Coleraine University; I went to Queen's here in town. He does rightly record the snobbery to which this decision would have subjected him! He rightly records everything I remember from my university days: coming from not particularly pleasant areas of Belfast to the ivory towers of academia, the insider politics of third-level Christianity, the angst and the inspiration, the legwarmers and Duran Duran.

It was a good read and I found it incredibly poignant, though I don't know how universal that would be. Mind you, he does have a big following in the States, where I suppose interest in Island Ireland and all her corners is high. Interesting to be reading a book so steeped in the consequences of Loyalism and Republicanism in the week where not so Island Scotland decided that maybe the time wasn't just right.

I think All Growed Up isn't just as gripping as the first book, Paperboy, and the second, Breadboy, certainly wasn't. I think the two sequels bring nothing new apart from the on-going narrative. Paperboy had all the freshness of a book written in this voice, from this persepective. So if you hadn't read any Macauley, I think I'd still recommend Paperboy.

I have started rereading Divorcing Jack by Bateman- a whole other outrageous depiction of Belfast! I should really get around to reading anything other than this first novel of his. Three years ago some of us went to a reading Colin Bateman was doing and took our copies of Divorcing Jack along with us. We told him we were reading one of his books for Book Club. He was happily impressed until he asked which one. I think he was appalled that after his prolific output, including very successful TV dramatisations for which he wrote the scripts, we were stuck on the first one. At least with Tony Macauley I'm keeping pace!

PC thinks that Macauley's next book will be about his move into peace and reconciliation work, for which he was already quite well known before the novels. That can be my token nod in the direction of Peace Day!


Jane and Chris said...

I once worked with a guy from Belfaaaaaaast. I still call him 'So it is Terry'.
Jane x

Betty said...

we have new neighbours who were living in Belfast before moving here, they are spanish and speak English well enough to affect the local accents - they pronounce your homeland as 'Hirelund'! love it.

Kezzie said...

Sounds really interesting!x

Are you at the wedding on the evening of Saturday the 4th? If not, come to my orchestra concert- I've already bought 5 tickets (it's a new technique they do to get more audience- I buy tickets instead of paying my sub!) so you can have one if you want!? It's in Nottinghill.

Otherwise, I recommended the Sir Joane Soane museum- cool place!x

M.K. said...

Sounds interesting! You're doing such a good job in your book-club reading. I would be WAY behind -- I'm so slow :) Thanks for all the info about the books.