‘At first she said no to the red ticket…’
Eugene McCabe’s remarkable suite of plangent monologues places in counterpoint the stories of a mother and her daughter (the ‘orphan’ of these stories), a landlord, and the Master of a workhouse in mid-19th century Ireland.
In the immediate aftermath of the ‘hard hunger’ and against the backdrop of other miseries — an ‘American wake’, poverty, deaths in childbearing, and the Master’s betrayed dreams and subsequent betrayal — Eugene McCabe relates memories, confessions and apologies. Through nimble shifts of time, perspectives and voices, he reveals why he is celebrated as a chronicler of complex historical predicaments and the details of social nuance. In this memorable fiction his imagination and narrative artistry are at their most vital and alert as he conjures prospects of escape and deliverance.