Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

McGahern Memoir

Irish writer John McGahern, who passed away recently, was widely admired as one of the most limpid prose writers of recent times. Certainly, the one book of his that one has read -- That They May Face The Rising Sun -- was admirable in its capacity to build large effects though the patient, careful and unshowy delineation of day-to-day living in rural Ireland. His last book, a memoir entitled All Will Be Well, however, doesn't seem to have impressed Floyd Skloot, who writes in the Virginia Quarterly Review:

"Sad and mournful, especially as it remembers the mother, All Will Be Well is also, understandably, an angry, often ferocious book. As it progresses, and as the scenes of abuse are presented without significant shades of difference, its details tend to proliferate rather than penetrate. McGahern seems to be building up an elaborate case against his father, to be settling the score by incorporating as many instances as he can, even though the point has already and devastatingly been made. He is a more rigorous fiction writer than memoirist."


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