"In My Father's House": renegotiations of boyhood in life-writing by John McGahern, Ciaran O'Driscoll, Dermot Healy and Ciaran Carson
[in special issue: Children, Childhood, and Irish Society]
Éire Ireland, 44, (1&2), Spring Issue, . (doi:10.1353/eir.0.0035).
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The records of boyhood in McGahern's Memoir, O'Driscoll's A Runner Among Falling Leaves, Healy's The Bend for Home and Carson's The Star Factory provide the basis for a examination of the formative influence of fathers upon their sons in mid-20th-century Ireland and of the evolution of the individuals and the writers through renegotiating their memories of childhood and adolescence. It is argued that to varying degrees each of the writers acknowledges the ways in which he has knowingly constructed the life he tells, but also that by opening up the larger question of the degree to which all history is the product of complex acts of selection, construction, false memory and imagination, Healy and Carson's books especially may be placed within the wider project of reassessing received versions of the past which characterised much late 20th-century Irish writing and scholarship.
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