Prufrock's Page

Friday, March 31, 2006

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

John McGahern, whose quiet, unfussy and deceptively simple prose captured the spirit of an Irish people finding their own place in the world, is no more. The Guardian calls him "arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett", and the New York Times quotes John Banville as saying: "Amongst Women, which was his masterpiece -- if there was any justice at all, it should have won the Booker Prize. It would have given him the international recognition that he didn't have. The literary world we live in now is so glittery. His novels were so quiet, perhaps they didn't travel well. But they will."

In McGahern's own words: "[I attempted] to take plot and everything else out of the novel and see what was left...In fiction, the most powerful weapon the writer has is suggestion. I think that nearly all good writing is suggestion, and all bad writing is statement. Statement kills off the reader's imagination. With suggestion, the reader takes up from where the writer leaves off."


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