‘…unputdownable…Reading her is like listening at the keyhole of history.’ Roy Foster, Times Literary Supplement
‘A subtle, challenging writer with a wonderfully destructive approach to the pieties she describes.’ John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
‘A pair of contrasting monologues set in 1920s Ireland are witty and humane to an outstanding degree’ – Kate Kellaway, The Observer.
I was in a weakness. I couldn’t stand up,
leant back against the wall like a drunkard.
Was that Himself I’d seen on the back
of a Crossley tender on Main Street?
The truck came down the hill & out
of the back appeared – a pair of red eyes.
They pinned me, bored me. It was an outrage.
A small Tan or maybe an Auxie, lounging
in the back against the canvas with a bayonet
pointed at my waist. The head off Himself
in a cracked leather coat with goggles
hanging round his neck. After twelve years.
Could he have clambered out the other
side of Sullivan’s Quay that night in Cork
ran away fast with his bowler under
his arm? We never found the hat although
Eileen Murphy & myself searched high
& low, tearing the damp walls, our hands
bright green from the moss.
‘The admired vernacular brilliance of Martina Evans’s poetry is applied here to her most ambitious work to date, bringing to vivid life one of the most terrible periods of Irish history from the Troubles around 1920 to the Civil War, as witnessed and experienced by two generations of women … No other poet currently writing in Britain and Ireland can rival Evans’s ability to represent the impact of the political on the personal without easy histrionics. This is a remarkable document,a major work. ‘