Sunday, January 6, 2008

A long way from Clare to here

Well, hello again, and a Happy New Year! 

Just returned from a week on the west coast of Ireland, celebrating the New Year with various members of the immediate and extended family.  And very nice it was too, thank you for asking.  It's difficult to think of a better location for any kind of celebration.  A few pints of stout, some excellent sea-food, winter sunshine, and a January walk on the extraordinary sea-swept landscape of The Burren. 

I took the opportunity to read a couple of recent Irish crime-novels of the kind so enthusastically espoused by Declan Burke on his fine Crime Always Pays blog.  Some may recall the mild spat caused by Clive James's New Yorker article on crime fiction.  Even those who disagreed with James's overall views should take note of his enthusiasm for Gene Kerrigan's The Midnight Choir (even though James's assessment of the book seems oddly to miss the point).  It's an excellent book - a police procedural which begins with a series of apparently fragmented vignettes and ultimately coheres into a genuine tragedy.  It also has a lot to say about the New Ireland, much of which resonated disconcertingly with the stories that seemed to be dominating the headlines while I was over there.

I also took the opportunity finally to get around to Benjamin 'John Banville' Black's Christine Falls.  I'll refrain from comment just yet as I haven't quite reached the end, though I can draw your attention to the comments by Martin Edwards who, as it happens, is also in the middle of it. 

Oh, and I was working on The Outcast.  Getting there, I think...


1. Maxine said...

Glad you enjoyed the break. I agree with you about Midnight Choir, I thought it a wonderful book (better than Little Criminals, although that was very good too).
I haven't read Christine Falls yet, though I have bought it now it is out on PB in the UK.
Happy new year to you -- please don't read too many books, as I for one want you to crack on with writing The Outcast!

2. Michael Walters said...

Yes - I thought Midnight Choir was terrific. A very interesting twist on 'a man who is not himself mean', which is why I thought James missed the point rather.

I am getting on with The Outcast - honest! My nose was to the proverbial while I was away, apart from the odd glass of Guinness on New Year's Eve...

Oh - and very sincere thanks for nominating The Shadow Walker as one of your favourites of the year. Now for 2008...

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