Stephen Regan
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‘Sacred spaces’
Writing home in recent Irish memoirs and autobiographies (John McGahern’s Memoir, Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People, Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark and John Walsh’s The Falling Angels)
in Irish literature since 1990

John McGahern's country lanes in some ways hold secure the memory of a child happy in the presence of his mother, and they guarantee, as well, an enduring image of Ireland. Memoir suggests a recollection of actual events and experiences, with an implicit trust in the faithfulness of memory being shared by author and reader. Hugo Hamilton, in The Speckled People, recalls his father explaining the events that took place in west Cork in the 1920s. As Edna Longley's review makes clear, Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark shares with The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing an interest in memoir and autobiography as significant narratives of Ireland. John Walsh's memoir The Falling Angels gives us an opportunity for examining diasporic Irish identity, especially that of second-generation Irish children growing up in England.

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