Danine Farquharson Robert McLiam Wilson gave his 1996 novel Eureka Street a provocative subtitle: A Novel of Ireland Like No Other. This claim of uniqueness could refer to either the style or content of the book, but Eureka Street can also claim to be strikingly original because of the manner in which McLiam Wilson writes the violence of contemporary Belfast. His graphic description of a bomb blast in a Belfast shop--a description that violently interrupts an otherwise romantically funny story--carries extraordinary literary and imaginative power. Eureka Street concerns two working-class Belfast lads who are unlikely friends, one Catholic, one Protestant, and united in part by their inability to form mature relationships. Set in 1990s Belfast, amid peace negotiations and possible cease-fires, two men struggle to find love, money, fame, and stability. Introduced first is Jake Jackson, one of those recognizably charming, reformed rogues. In an interview with Richard Mills, McLiam Wilson comments that "Jake Jackson was supposed to be a satire of the reformed hardman, a stock character in crime fiction."1 Jake --a hard-boiled loser--is the dominant voice of the first part of the novel. The chapters devoted to his tale are narrated in the first person, while
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
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