This brand new title from renowned Irish author Val Mulkerns is a quirky, memoir that dances through a life in a non-chronological way, and is often a musing on writing and how it was to be a writer in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century. It was described by Carlo Gébler in The Irish Times as, “protean and quixotic, mercurial and wayward … though always human and tender”.
It is sadly her last work, as the author passed away on Saturday, 10th March 2018 just a couple of weeks after her 93rd birthday. Please do take time to see more about her on her website: www.ValMulkerns.com. You can read the full review of Friends with The Enemy here.
A long-standing figure of Irish letters and member of Aosdána, Val Mulkerns’s writing has been described by Sebastian Barry as, “a masterly writer in the tradition of Seán Ó Faoláin” and in an Irish Times review of Memory and Desire in 2016, Anne Enright noted that in her work, “liberalising, Shavian voices form a neglected strand of the Irish tradition.”
This elegant memoir begins with tales of intriguing ancestors, leads us through early days of a Bohemian Dublin childhood and then to a teaching position in Britain, and to explore the sunnier climes of post-war Europe and Italy. On her return to Dublin, she began working at the famed literary review, The Bell under editor Peadar O’Donnell.
She describes how her first novel, A Time Outworn, was released to critical acclaim in Ireland in 1952. In 1953 she married Maurice Kennedy and they have two sons and a daughter. She subsequently published four more novels, two children’s books and many essays and critical writings. She later worked as a journalist and columnist and has been a much-loved voice on RTE’s “Sunday Miscellany” programme down the years. Friends With the Enemy is a beautifully written tome that takes in almost 70 years of life and times in literary Ireland.
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