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Still Standing on her Head: Ireland: The Gamal, by Ciarán Collins
Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. A ferocious, heartbreaking confessional with a real voice. Review Posted Online: Feb.
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Books reviews with the occasional interview thrown in for good measure
Categories of Interest: Select All. Current Affairs. Historical Fiction. True Crime. Profession: Author. Event Coordinator. Film Executive. Not for the plot, which is in the end, based on fairly universal themes. In fact, towards the end, I found myself thinking of Shakespeare. Not in the sense of one Shakespeare play modernised as in West Side Story, for instance.
I did think "Romeo and Juliet" but then I found myself recognising elements of several more Shakespearean tragedies - I won't say which for fear of spoilers. What is more amazing about this book is the sense of voice. The way in which Charlie is brought to life as an observer who sees and understands a good deal more than the locals give him credit for.
He is largely silent but not unintelligent. The way in which the book is cast as a sort of stream of consciousness - the "thousand words a day" device - basically a "shitty first draft" as Ann Lamott would say without it actually being shitty to read.
Ciaran Collins' debut novel “The Gamal” exposes the dark heart of the Irish small town
It's in a way, a similar difficulty to writing conversation. If you transcribed what people actually say, it would be tedious and boring. The skill is in making it sound conversational, without it being actually so. In the same way, the style of this book has to convince as a first draft, and yet manage to reveal the story in a way that is not too baffling and not too repetitive.
Which it does, admirably. There is enough of the nonsense that Charlie types just to fill his word count to make it sound like a first draft, and enough jumping back and forward in time, but not so much that the story suffers. In fact it only serves to enhance the tension - what did actually happen to Sinead and James? Why is Charlie so distraught that he barely left his room for two years?
- The Blood Isles (The Four Relics Book 1).
- Book Review: The Gamal by Ciaran Collins.
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This is his first novel. I will certainly be on the lookout for the next. Posted by Catherine at am. No comments:.