An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

I watched the Clare Cork match on Sunday (May 22, 2018) in an unlikely place, in the town of Cherokee, North Carolina, near the Tennessee border. We’re on holiday down South and we’ve come to walk in the Smoky Mountains and drive up The Blue Ridge Parkway.

And, sitting here in this Welcome Centre, so far from home and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, I’m struggling with that familiar feeling of guilt when I’m not around to cheer Cork on. As if my presence in the Páirc today would make one iota of difference today among 25,000 others, but that’s just how it is. I’m struggling too with GAAGO’s intermittent signal, and I’m thinking of Irish emigrants all over the world, for many of whom this is a regular summer Sunday experience.

I imagine Cillian, a young Clareman in Melbourne, Australia. Continue reading “An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling”

Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy

Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy

Not Art, like all good sports fiction, isn’t about sport and in many ways it isn’t even a novel. It’s a piece of autofiction by a man writing about his mother. A mother who is besotted by football and by one practitioner in particular, the great Ferenc Puskás of Hungary.

Esterházy is an interesting character, coming from an aristocratic family, and considered a major European novelist. His brother was a professional footballer and Péter himself played a bit. Continue reading “Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy”

Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder

Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder

This is one of the most interesting sports fiction books I’ve read. Like the best books in the genre, it isn’t about the sport in question at all – well it’s about a few elements of it: ritual, memory/nostalgia, and repetition. These are key elements of all sport and some of the reasons why we watch and participate in sport. They shouldn’t be underestimated. Continue reading “Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder”

My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break

My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break

 

Lucky me, and didn’t I pick well. I’m determined to read more in 2018, and I’ve made a running start. Tús maith and all that…

 

Autumn by Ali Smith

This is a moving, compassionate and brilliant work. Oblique at time in its writing but very much worth sticking with. It’s set in current-day UK and while it refers to BREXIT and the issues of racism and nationalism appear, it’s not a BREXIT novel at all (don’t believe the press hype), it’s about the deep and life-long friendship between Elisabeth, (from child to adult) and Daniel (a neighbouring gay older man). Continue reading “My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break”

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

There was something of homework about this novel. I read it soon after A Scandal by Fredrik Backman, as I wanted to see how current novelists are approaching sport as the backdrop to fiction. Seeing as how my own novel, The First Sunday in September, to be published by Mercier Press in August, attempts just that. Continue reading “Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin”

Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard

Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard

Was the reader taken aback by his emotional response to Conversations With Friends? Why was the reader so taken aback? Was it because he wasn’t expecting to fully inhabit Frances, the book’s protagonist? Especially given the first person point-of-view throughout? And was that because she is a twenty-one year old woman and he is a fifty-six year old man? Continue reading “Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard”