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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Dangerous Islands by Séamas Cain

It turns out an old friend of mine published a book a while back, which I look forward to reading when I can acquire a copy. 



   The Dangerous Islands by Séamas Cain is an unusual coming-of-age tale.  The novel describes the experiences and emotions of a young man living through the era of Civil War in Northern Ireland from 1965 to 1998.  The hero of this novel, an Irish-American like Cain, undergoes a journey of the mind as well as a journey of the body, in a process of self-realization in another country.  Indeed, Cain based many of the protagonist's activities on his own thoughts, dreams, and experiences in Northern Ireland in that era.
     Says Cain, “In my youth, in Northern Ireland, I was active in the Civil Rights Movement, People's Democracy, and later the Peace Movement.  My experiences from those times were filtered into the composition of The Dangerous Islands.  Indeed, much of the novel was written in Belfast or Limavady and Dungiven — though I am a Minnesota Irishman.”
     The Dangerous Islands is a moral history of the Irish and Irish-American activists of the generation of the 'Sixties.  Or, more accurately, it is a history of their emotions and their enthusiasms.  Thus it is a non-classic coming-of-age tale.  It is a story of self-education and self-development, with convictions and disillusionment.  But it resists all pigeonholing, for it is also a novel of ideas ranging across literature, philosophy and politics. 

Seamas was the director of Blackthorne Repertory Theatre back in the '70s when I was a young actor and playwright of sorts.  He's a talented and imaginative poet and playwright (no "of sorts" about it), and I'm sure this will be a worthwhile read.  Hopefully I can get the Duluth Public Library to grab me a copy; it's a bit out of my financial means at the moment.


Let me know if you read it, maybe I can borrow your copy when you're done.


Griz