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Sudden Times

Healy, Dermot

Verlag: Harvill Pr, 1999
ISBN 10: 1860466818 / ISBN 13: 9781860466816
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Titel: Sudden Times

Verlag: Harvill Pr

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Zustand: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 2-3 weeks. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 9781860466816-3

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Inhaltsangabe: Ollie Ewing is barely surviving. Back home in Sligo, he's collecting trolleys in a supermarket car park and living in a run-down house with a group of art students. He has lost his child-like innocence and he can't escape what has happened in London. Tormented by old fears and regrets, he loses himself in everyday routine and is kept going by his painfully black sense of humour. Finally, Ollie steels himself to return to England to confront his demons. He re-enters a world of casual labour and protection rackets on the building sites of London; a world peopled by sinister figures such as Silver John and Scots Bob; an intimidating world of uncertain justice where violence will easily erupt. Sudden Times is a powerful and shocking psychological thriller, revealing its truth through a growing awareness of the skewed and unreliable consciousness of its narrator. The result is a masterpiece of sustained tension.

Rezension: Funny, bewildered, guilty, more than half-mad, the voice that narrates Dermot Healy's Sudden Times is like a nightmarish illustration of the old bumper sticker that says: Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not Out to Get You. Something terrible happened to Ollie Ewing while he was working construction in London, and as he wanders the streets and pubs of his hometown Sligo, he keeps his memories at bay with a ceaseless round of activity--walking, working, then walking some more. "What I've discovered is--once you're moving you're thinking, it's when you're not moving that things go awry. This numbness starts in the brain and what you see would sicken you." Ollie hears voices, although he tries to drown them out, and the world around him is shimmery and numinous, full of hidden and unfriendly signs. An empty wedding dress hanging in a cleaner's window transforms each night into the faceless apparition of a bride, and when he closes his eyes, he sees flames, courtrooms, corpses stuffed in the back of lorries. Eventually even this slight purchase on reality slips, and as Ollie travels to England to reconcile with his father, the book telescopes horribly backward, to his time in London and the mess it made of his life.

There, Ollie worked as a day laborer on building sites, joining a shadowy underworld of foreign workers, crooked bosses, violence, and drugs. This in spite of his best efforts to stay out of trouble:

I don't like hearing talk of governments. Politics makes me dizzy. They're cat. If you're paranoid about government then the psyche is unsettled. You're not well. Next thing is you're standing in Saint Columba's in your pyjamas talking to some bollacks about the phallus and chewing something to bring you down.
But this is an Irish novel, of course, its rough, lyric vernacular haunted by the ghosts of Beckett and Joyce, and Ollie's great tragedy is that politics find him whether he likes it or not. The strains of the traditional song "Cunla" torment him along with the voices of his dead, and the "reels and jigs" that echo through his head have names like "Rifles from High Buildings," "Protection Rackets," "Come Back Me Auld Mate," and "Is the Place Being Watched?" If the book has a fault, it's that its first half simply slips away; we're drawn into Ollie's London story, and the trip we took to get there seems in retrospect like an extended narrative tease. But in trying to make the two halves fit together, you might well pay this mad and beautifully terrifying novel the highest praise of all: that is, to read the last page, and immediately turn to the beginning and start again. --Mary Park

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