27 March 2012


The penal codes of every society have a sobering effect on the reader. I have the sense of having lived through so many social shifts, noticably the criminalisation of work, that I stay as focused as possible when thinking about all the demands and stresses on the individual that the weight of generations of law makers impose.

Perhaps this thought could help explain the astonishing popularity of crime writing in every genre which has dominated the popular publication industry for the past ten years in particular?

I was very pleased to be able to attend a seminar, with readings from new work, by Irish crime writers, in Maynooth recently. There was humour during the proceeding, but one tends to come away from such meetings with a strong sense of the seriousness of contemporary life. Ghost estates, which seem to be the most popular metaphor for the "Irish" way of doing things, were mentioned and while it is easy to point fingers at politicians, developers, builders and hacks working in the property pages of national media, there is also a question that could yet be answered... why do ordinary citizens not buy small plots of land and keep the ecological benefits of small holding management alive for generations yet to come? We have a small suburban garden and I am now interested in that strange, eerie movement, Guerrilla Gardening, where people plant trees and shrubs on abandoned estates in an effort to restore them to the natural balance that was there before they were excavated and rendered dangerous and empty of all life.

The latest question on the Internet... Is crime writing redundant?... may be controversial and give pause for thought but it seems to me that writers who tackle the difficult social issues of our day still have a lot to write about.

There should be many books yet to come...
Portraits of Irish Crime Writers And heres a comment for Peter Rozovsky on the subject of work and social control.

"I think that the crime boom is only getting into its stride. The laws that surround the management of work forces worldwide alone could give an army of writers enough material for generations to come. I still remember UB40 and wandering round with a P45 clutched in my frozen fingers as I tried to find work during the last recession. Work is now so controlled by governments it is a wonder anybody bothers to go for it.


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