The bastard Pleasure
McGrady’s pitch-black coming-of-age story picks up where his debut, The Backslider, left off: Belfast, during the early 1970s; a time of anxiety and irtual and actual violence, but also, it would seem from this meticulously chronicled account, of precarious hope and occasional hilarity.
For his narrator, seventeen year-old Seamus McGladdery, it is a time of self-discovery. What kind of man is he going to be, and on which side that of the ‘fly Provo boys’ who rule the streets, or that of his Protestant forebears-will he take a stand?
‘Black Belfast’ has seldom been more sharply realized, in taut, visceral prose whose Beckettian cadences are relieved by flashes of humour.
Unflinching in its depiction of a deeply troubled era in Ireland’s history, The Bastard Pleasure is no easy read, but it is a rewarding one, full of thought-provoking insights and incidental pleasures.
Praise for The Bastard Pleasure.
‘The universe of Seán McGrady’s fiction may be bleak, but its language is magical: ‘I saw it was another dirty Belfast dusk with nothing by way of a pleasant sensation to entice the soul outside.’
‘The time of tension, a brute of a time, a reminder of a particular extension, urging intuitions and direction, the time I loathed was always the time that came too quickly.’
One can hear in his prose the music of his homeland s literary ancestors, but no one I know writing today can bend a concept to the point of palpability like he does.
The Bastard Pleasure is Belfast noir at its mad, lyrical, metaphysical best.’ — Tom Whalen
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