15 October 2009

The Sociopathology of Everyday Life

I live a sheltered existence and am somewhat rattled to see the fact that Dublin's underbelly is not a pretty sight. This is according to the ever-increasing number of crime writers who have taken it upon themselves to look.

During the Summer I got caught up in the tangled web of contemporary publishing and have had a very interesting time since. One of my photos has been chosen to grace the cover of Alan Glynn's book, Winterland.

It will be published by

next month
and by
Saint Martin's Press, Minotaur
in New York in early Spring, 2010.

Given the brilliance of
The Dark Fields,
it is bound to be very well written and insightful.

Mr Glynn very kindly sent me a synopsis of his book, which is categorised as a literary thriller
with noir over and under tones,
rather than as a gritty crime novel.

"It has elements of the crime thriller in it, but I wrote it simply as a novel.
The main character in the book is a young woman, Gina Rafferty, who refuses to be lied to.

Two deaths occur in her family on the same night and she refuses to accept that it was a coincidence.

Her pursuit of an honest answer leads her through the worlds of business,
politics and crime and to the unravelling of a dynamic in Irish life where people tell lies, cover them up, create all sorts of collateral damage over decades and never take responsibility.

One strand of the plot involves the construction of a high rise office building down in the docklands by a man who becomes Gina's nemesis or opposite.
One of the things I was trying to do with these two characters was create a simultaneous sense that 'the centre cannot hold' and that actually maybe, with adjustment, it can.
In an exciting abstract way I see an echo of that in your image."

Much has been written about the astonishing greed of the past fifteen years.
However, the Celtic Tiger did bring a sense of vitality to our lives and now
that we are in post-boom times, our artists are offering considered explorations of
what exactly seems to have happened and "where it all almost went wrong".

I am an optimist. I expect that Alan Glynn will manage to get the centre to hold
in his much anticipated novel.

I have read that Mr Glynn has regard for James Joyce, who seems to have settled into the role of venerable patriarch to the city's numerous writers.

Dubliners, whose city motto is "Obedienta Civium Urbis Felicitas"...
"Happy the city where citizens obey"..
are survivors. There is more to their story than the ones told through the moroseness of the many writers who chose exile rather than live in a place that did not suit their psychological needs.

Since the world of publishing is now a global phenomenon it is heartening to see writers living in our city and following its narrative as insiders at last.


12 October 2009

Learning by Design

Just a link to an interesting interview.

Designers are such sensible people.

11 October 2009

Tact and Politics

At present, many people are more concerned with domestic affairs than they are with the wider political scene. Balancing the books has become a major issue and the frighful denunciation of some in public office that greets anybody who dares turn on the television is not pleasant to behold.

The question of expenses, how they are allocated, who should have them, is now a national debate. In some ways a form of class warfare has broken out in Europe, with those who are not in power looking in bewilderment at those who are. The EU is an enormous series of institutions that needs managment.

Most people are too distant from its strange rituals to get involved...