A review by Daniel Magennis. PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast.
Front cover of the May 2017 reissue of ‘Silver’s City’ by Turnpike Books.
A German once said the Irish always reminded him of a pack of hounds pulling down a stag, but, Nan, we only drag down our own kind. Or try to. (107-8)
Maurice Leitch’s 1981 Whitbread prize-winning novel Silver’s City portrays a cannibalistic Loyalist movement holed up in a ruined cityscape, ‘the true terrain of nightmare, fixed in its horrible aftermath’ (92). Its protagonist, the once glorious standard bearer of Ulster Loyalism, Silver Steele, sprung from prison by countrymen with whom he no longer has any common ground, finds himself in an alien city. The careless violence he witnesses leaves him stunned and senseless: Continue reading
by Annika Breinig (with thanks to Portia Ellis-Woods and Dominique Jeannerod)
No Alibis : a Bookshop to die for (83, Botanic Avenue, Belfast, BTL7 1 JL) Continue reading
The San-Antonio International conference took place last week end at Queen’s University, Belfast, under the aegis of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities and the School of Modern Languages. It gathered specialists, scholars, collectors and members of the public from around the world. They came to discuss (in French, mostly) the immense body of work left by one of France’s most famous popular writers, Frédéric Dard, aka San-Antonio. Joséphine Dard, his daugther, attended the conference and took part in the discussions. People came together who don’t normally get to talk together. Genuinely multidisciplinary, the conference relied on expertise from various fields (from American Studies to Linguistics, from Cultural History to Literature studies), on public and private collections, and on new digital tools. The multiplicity of approaches and expertise allowed to tackle precise research questions on a defined and contained (if vast) corpus of texts Continue reading
Welcome to Belfast to all our delegates and participants in the San-Antonio International Conference Continue reading
(With thanks to François Rivière)
The “Troubles Thriller” is an international genre. Albeit peripheral, and taking place in a small country, the conflict in Northern Ireland has generated a flurry of crime novels set there during the Troubles. In addition to the several hundreds Crime and spy novels written in Britain and in America on the ” Troubles” in Northern Ireland, there have been a number of novels written on this subject by European Crime authors and published in their own countries. These works have very rarely been translated into English (nor, as a rule in many other languages), as they primarily targeted their own domestic market, and sought to offer there a similar fare to the Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins and others who dominated the genre. They might be derivative, but this in itself does not make them redundant. Their take on the conflict is often highly idiosyncratic. They are controversial, but they were read by hundred thousands, if not by millions of readers. The political views they display and the representations of Ireland which they carry are of interest, making the books precious sources for a cultural history of European responses to the situation in Ireland. Continue reading
What is Fireproof about?
Fireproof, on the surface, is about a man who ended up in Hell due to a bureaucratic bungle and is sent back to Earth with a mission to establish a satanic church in Northern Ireland. It’s not based on a true story.
Is it crime fiction?
The book straddles a few genres. There are certainly crime fiction elements (or tropes if you want to be unkind), such as a femme fatale, murder, mystery, revenge… But it also features supernatural creatures such as Lucifer, an imp, and Cerberus, a three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hell/Hades in Greek mythology. Oh, and I like to think it’s a wee bit funny as well. Continue reading
San-Antonio, Bérurier au Sérail, Paris, Fleuve Noir, 1964
In a Series totalling 175 novels, it is understandably difficult to locate, or even to remember, in which country each adventure is set. Even if one discounts some 70 novels where the action is set in France, in many others the characters travel to several foreign countries, rather than just one. This adds to the variety of settings in San-Antonio’s adventures, but it renders any orientation even more difficult. To provide such an orientation, the following list serves as a simplified database. It links the countries most visited by San-Antonio with the title of the books in which each country is visited. This might come handy especially if you are considering putting a proposal to the San-Antonio International Conference in Belfast in May… Continue reading
Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville, in the introduction to the recently launched collection of short stories, Belfast Noir (N.Y., Akashic, 2014) describe Belfast, with some claims, as ” the noirest city on earth”. The feeling seems to be shared by the international publishing industry. In so far at least as original titles of noir novels set in Northern Ireland have been changed, in translation or for the U.S. Market, in order to feature the name of the city. Or have been produced originally, abroad, or domestically with a title using explicitly Belfast as a byword for violence. Here are a few examples of such “Belfastxploitation”, with some images for a view on Belfast, as reconstructed from the outside…
Sam Millar , Die Bestien von Belfast: Ein Fall für Karl Kane, Translator : Joachim Körb
Atrium Verlag, Hamburg, 2013 (original, Bloodstorm, 2008).… Continue reading