London Irish Fictions

Narrative, Diaspora and Identity

Tony Murray

- +

ISBN: 9781781380154

Publication: April 4, 2014

In the USA? Buy the Paperback US edition
This is the first book about the literature of the Irish in London. By examining over 30 novels, short stories and autobiographies set in London since the Second World War, London Irish Fictions investigates the complex psychological landscapes of belonging and cultural allegiance found in these unique and intensely personal perspectives on the Irish experience of migration. As well as bringing new research to bear on the work of established Irish writers such as Edna O’Brien, John McGahern, Emma Donoghue and Joseph O’Connor, this study reveals a fascinating and hitherto unexplored literature, diverse in form and content. By synthesising theories of narrative and diaspora into a new methodological approach to the study of migration, London Irish Fictions sheds new light on the ways in which migrant identities are negotiated, mediated and represented through literature. It also examines the specific role that the metropolis plays in literary portrayals of migrant experience as an arena for the performance of Irishness, as a catalyst in transformations of Irishness and as an intrinsic component of second-generation Irish identities. Furthermore, by analysing the central role of narrative in configuring migrant cultures and identities, it reassesses notions of exile, escape and return in Irish culture more generally. In this regard, it has particular relevance to current debates on migration and multiculturalism in both Britain and Ireland, especially in the wake of an emerging new phase of Irish migration in the post-‘Celtic Tiger’ era.

Tony Murray is Director of the Irish Studies Centre at London Metropolitan University.

Acknowledgements 1: Introduction 2: The Irish in London Part I: The Mail-Boat Generation Introduction 3: Navvy Narratives 4: Escape and its Discontents 5: Ersatz Exiles 6: Departures and Returns Part II: The Ryanair Generation Introduction 7: Gendered Entanglements 8: Ex-Pat Pastiche 9: Transit and Transgression Part III: The Second Generation Introduction 10: Irish Cockney Rebels 11: Elastic Paddies 12: Conclusion Author Biographies Bibliography Index

… an important contribution to a number of areas: Irish studies, diaspora and migration studies, and the study of the literature of London.
  Years Work in English Studies, vol 93, no 1

Murray’s book makes its own powerful contribution in a study of Irish literary relationships with London that breaks new and important ground by furthering conversations about the keen significance of migration to Irish literary culture. London Irish Fictions is an elegantly written, compelling, and generous book that makes an invaluable contribution to understanding Irish and diasporic literary culture in the twenty-first century.
  Irish Studies Review

London Irish Fictions is both a pioneering and imperative study.
Whitney Standlee   The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, Number 14

London Irish Fictions is the first book that looks at literature of the Irish in London, and makes a valuable contribution to Irish diaspora studies more generally. Murray’s analysis of the role of narrative in shaping diasporic identities is masterly, and sheds new light on representations of exile, escape and belonging in the diasporic experience. A highly enjoyable and recommended read.
Louise Sheridan   Estudios Irlandeses, Issue 8

A landmark study of that most essential aspect of being Irish, the experience of it outside of Ireland itself. [...] A most handsome book, with a wonderful cover, both inside and outside Irish Studies, for the student or curious poet, this is clearly a foundation text. Hats off.
  Books Ireland

A new book, London Irish Fictions: Narrative, Diaspora and Identity, by Tony Murray, presents a fascinating story of the Irish immigrants, many of whom dug the roads, worked in the National Health Service or engaged in the arts.
  Camden New Journal

A rich, sympathetic and nuanced exploration of that strange blend of exile and escape, of suffering and play-acting, which characterises the Irish migrant experience in London [...] a valuable, unprecedented and necessary book.
Declan Kiberd  
Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies, Notre Dame University

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 x 156 mm

222 Pages

ISBN: 9781781380154

Publication: April 4, 2014

Related products

Scroll to top