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The Valparaiso Voyage

by Dermot Bolger

A tightly plotted thriller that is also a family drama which takes in many different aspects of contemporary life in Ireland - from political corruption to dodgy land deals to gay identity. This is a brutal world tempered by occasional moments of tenderness with an ending that promises hope if not redemption. I was gripped by the creative energy and inventiveness of the writing.

Extract

'It's in Chile, I think, but it's not a real place. I mean it is but it isn't. It was an Irish poem we did in school about a man who sees a boat and longs to escape from the world he's trapped in to a different life where he can start again as a different man.'
Conor took a contemplative drag of his cigarette. 'You abandoned us because of some poem?'
'By the time I started thinking rationally again it was too late. Contacting your mother would have made her an accessory to fraud.'
Conor rose, tossing the half-finished cigarette into the water. 'Then why couldn't you stay dead where at least I might respect you?'

Parallels

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
Father's Music by Dermot Bolger
 

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