Patrick McGinley

Life
1937- ; b. Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, ed. St. Enda's College, Galway, and University College Galway; four years as teacher in Ireland, emig. Britain in the 1960s; journalist and publisher; now lives in Kent with his wife and son; the first of tales of murder featuring eccentric Donegal rural characters involved in a web of sex, incest, lost of innocence, guilt, and superstition, while mixing comic and serious treatments and supposedly intensifying both; novels Bogmail (1978) and Goosefoot (1982), both feature an English narrator in Ireland, with the latter filmed as The Fantasist in 1987, and reissued under that title; Foggage (1984); The Trick of the Ga Bolga (1985); The Red Men (1987); The Devil’s Diary (1988); participated in l’Imaginaire irlandais, France 1996. DIW FDA OCIL DIL

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Works
  • Bogmail (London: Martin Brian & O’Keeffe 1978), Do. (London: Fontana 1986);
  • Goosefoot (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1982), Do., repub. as The Fantasist (London: Flamingo 1987);
  • Fox Prints (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1983);
  • Foggage (NY: St. Martin’s Press 1983), and Do. (London: Cape 1984; Fontana 1985);
  • The Trick of The Ga Bolga (London: Cape 1985; Flamingo 1986);
  • The Red Men (London: Cape 1987), and Do. (London: Flamingo 1988);
  • The Devil’s Diary (London: Cape 1988), and Do. (London: Flamingo 1989);
  • The Lost Soldier’s Song (London: Sinclair Stevenson 1994).

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Criticism
  • Hugh Kenner, review of The Trick of the Ga Bolga, in NY Times Book Review (20 July 1985), p.20;
  • Robert Tracy, review of The Tricks of the Ga Bolga, in Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 1986), p.29;
  • James M. Cahalan, The Irish Novel: A Critical History (Boston: Twayne 1988), pp.300-3;
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Patrick McGinley’, in Contemporary Irish Novelists, ed. Imhof (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag 1990), pp.193-205 [infra];
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Post-Joycean Experiment in Recent Irish Fiction’, in Ireland and France, A Bountiful Friendship, Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi, ed. Barbara Hayley & Christopher Murray (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992), pp.124-136 [infra];
  • Augustine Martin, ‘Fable and Fantasy’, in The Genius of Irish Prose, ed. Martin (Dublin & Cork: Mercier 1984), [q.p.];
  • Walter Nash, ‘Father Bosco to Africa’, review of Devil's Diary, in London Review of Books (5 February 1987), p.22;
  • [q.a.], review of The Lost Soldier’s Song, in Books Ireland (Sept. 1994), [q.p.];
  • Rüdiger Imhof, review of The Lost Soldier’s Song, in Linenhall (Spring 1995), pp.11-12 [infra];
  • Thomas F. Shea, ‘The Fomenting Fictions of History’, review of The Lost Soldier’s Song (1994), in Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 1995), p.17 [infra]
  • [...]
  • John Goodby & Jo Furber, ‘“A Shocking Libel on the People of Donegal”? The Novels of Patrick McGinley’, in Irish Fiction since the 1960s: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Elmer Kennedy-Andrews (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2002) [Chap. 9]

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Commentary
Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Patrick McGinley’, in Imhof, ed., Contemporary Irish Novelists [Studies in English and Comparative Literature, ed. Michael Kenneally and Wolfgang Zach] (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag 1990), pp.193-205 [summary]: Bogmail (1978), with McGing, the policemen, Canon Loftus, the American entrepreneur Potter who gets Nora pregnant - while her husband Roarty is suffering from impotence and fiddles with the barmaid; McGinley said to have one of several manuscripts completed at the time of publication; followed by Goosefoot (1983), in which a country girl, Patricia, goes to Dublin as a teacher and has dealings with numerous men including chiefly a fellow-teacher Foxley and Bernard Baggotty, who is himself accused of murder and hangs himself when she fails to vindicate him; and finally the Detective McMyler, who proves to be the psychopathic murder of Baggotty’s wife, and a frotteur who makes her poses as Marie Louise O’Morphi; both of these with an English narrator in Ireland; Fox Prints (1983), in which Martin Reddin, a failed research student working on Finnegans Wake, finds himself working menially in ‘Foxgloves’, a big house, disguised as Keating in the company of an Englishman, a Scotsman, and a Welshman, subject to the visitations from a penis-measuring Medical Officer and beset by the murder of Ann Eade, the woman with whom Keating has fallen in love, and multiple murders thereafter; Foggage (1984), centres on Kevin and Maureen, br. and sister, who have sex daily after lunch, unfortunately getting pregnant with complicated consequences involving Bill Snoddy, and others; The Trick of the Ga Bolga (1985), concerning George Coote, and Englishman who settles in Ireland to evade war-service in the ‘Emergency’, and gets involved with various women, precipitates several deaths, and his finally murdered himself by the returning husband of Imelda, being disembowelled in a manner to suit the title; The Red Men (1987), retells the Miller and his Sons under the form of the Donegal hotelier and shop-owner Gulban Heron, who sets his sons - the title characters - to the best use of £10,000 each in a qualification competition to inherit his estate, with a surprise revelation at the end when Pauline inherits all, being revealed as half-sister of three brothers, while the fourth is shown not be have been a son of Gulban at all; Devil’s Diary (1988) concerns Fr. Jerry, parish priest of Glenkeel, Co. Donegal, whose Glebe is invaded by hippies; a brother Hugo, returned from the Southern Hemisphere where he fought a losing battle against cannibalism and women, keep the diary; Arty Brennan runs the fishmeal factory that pollutes the landscape, and plans to turn Donegal into a ‘cheap peepshow for tourists’; Olga, the pulchritudinous neighbour of Fr. Jerry, is drowned in the Liffey; Imhof remarks that the delineation of Fr. Jerry’s mental agonies is seriously at variance with the things that happen all around him’ [204], identifies a device of like the auto-aesthetogamy in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim which he regards as a serious mistake since the revolt of the characters against their author is not in the least borne out by the account’ [205], and finally condemns the churned-out series of repetitive novels though conceding that the author should be watched in case he ‘tri[es] his hand at something different.’ [206.]

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Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Post-Joycean Experiment in Recent Irish Fiction’, in Barbara Hayley & Christopher Murray, eds., Ireland and France, A Bountiful Friendship, Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992), remarks that ‘what is unique is that he [McGinley] strives towards combining the conventions of the comic novel with the murder story. Pespective of Englishman come to live in Ireland, in Bogmail, and The Trick of the Ga Bolga. Cleverly avoids convention of stage-Irishman not least by having the comic elements suddenly turn sinister’. (pp.124-136; p.130.)

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[Q.a.], review of The Lost Soldier’s Song, in Books Ireland (Sept. 1994), [q.p.]; ‘the doomed idealism of a young man who has fallen into the hands of the Black and Tans.

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Rüdiger Imhof, review of The Lost Soldier’s Song, in Linenhall (Spring 1995), remarks that ‘six books to date focus obsessively on a murder and making liberal use of stage-Irishry, embrace such topics as sex, incest, lost innocence, guilt and superstition ... what makes them somehow special is that they rely for their effects on an idiosyncratic mixture of the comical and serious element which intriguingly works towards reciprocal intensification ... Bogmail, a murder set in an idyllic Donegal landscape inhabited by cranks and oddballs; Goosefoot (1982), a novel about a woman who want to get laid but cannot get her knickers off; picture of Ireland as of a country where transitions are violent and contrasts savagely accumulate; The Devil Diary (1988), shows strain amid whimsicalities galore; The Lost Soldier’s Song marks a new departure; gone the stage-Irishry and quirky serio-comic; deadpan attempt to chart decisive phase in Ireland’s fight for freedom; Declan Osborne, 21 yrs. age, a Volunteer; arrested with girlfriend Maureen by RIC; tortured in connection with attacks; executed; fellow prisoner tells him, ‘All this fucken ranting about Dark Rosaleen and wine from the Royal Pope is only trick o’ the loop and thimbleman stuff’; middle section reviews his Volunteer life; bungled campaigns; war is over, their lives saved; Maureen drowns herself, broken by prison; Declan emerges to be claimed back by real life, ‘I’ll go home for a while ... There’s ploughing, harrowing, ... .They say it’s all wholesome work’. (pp.11-12.)

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Thomas F. Shea, ‘The Fomenting Fictions of History’, review of The Lost Soldier’s Song (1994), in Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 1995), remarks that ‘The wait has been worth it.’ (p.17.)

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References
Kevin Rockett, et al., eds, Cinema & Ireland (1988); Goosefoot (1988), McGinley’s novel, filmed as The Fantasist, dir. Robert Hardy.

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Notes
To Myles: The Trick of the Ga Bolga (1985) is dedicated ‘to Myles’ - meaning Myles na gCopaleen, aka Flann O’Brien [Brian O’Nolan].

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