[ top ]
[ top ]
[ top ]
C. L. Dallat, Modern Ireland, review of The Feminists Go Swimming, in TLS (9 Feb., p.24); Michael Collinss collection catches the confusion of a still submerged population of hill-farms and tower-blacks facing the ills of the contemporary society while burdened with stifling traditions; cites The end of the World, set at a period when the Pope is due to open secrets of Fatima, while a butt of abuse, Patsy, is punished for irreverence when he draws Jesus as Superman; The Sunday Races concerns blackmail; an outsider returns for a funeral in The Inheritance; In Hiding is set in wartime London and testifies to barbarism arising from lack of familial support; The Walking Saint involves a gas employee who secures near canonisation for his aunt, an ageing nun; The Football Field is a story of urban deprivation; in The Rain in Kilrush a violent husband goes too far; title story based on true incident, featuring robust priest, retired sergeant, and anti-clerical businessman, who congregate for bathing and are join by two young men who dont know any girls and are view with suspicion; the prevailing instinct is to avoid scandal as upsetting the Catholic status quo (a theme approved by Dallat).
Hugo Hamilton review of The Feminists Go Swimming (Phoenix 1995), in Irish Times, 17 Feb., 1996, p.9: [Collins writes with compelling inaccuracy about this country ... like an Ed Wood remake of Ryans Daughter); gives a different account of the title-piece, in which women arrive at the Sandycove forty-foot and two of the male swimmers drown, leading the priest and others to beg to women to allow them of the water; in The Fornicator, Murphy departs from home for an affair and ends up murdering a raving farmer with his girlfriend; The End of the World concerns the Church of Ireland and the Church of Rome, with a suspicion on the reviewers part that the author doesnt know the difference; berates Phoenix, who publish Colm McCann, for their apparent ignorance of Ireland.
David Ervine, review of The Emerald Underground (1998), in Times Literary Supplement (27 Nov., 1998, p.22: quotes, that dark Emerald underground of Irish immigrant slvery in the margin of the American mainstream; new York was a great machine that ingested and digested matter; Liam recalls, I saw Jesus on the cross, and said, morning, bollocks! Howre those nails in your hands and feet? I said, Hail the King of all Cat Killers!; the will to survive takes precedence over religion or morality; Liams persistence was part of the evolutionary process of survival, the mould on cheese and bread growing in the cold of the cupboardd back home, the microbes that live in the arse of animals, the cancer cells tthatfed inside my mother. Ask them the meaning of life. Survival!; characters include Liam; Angel, a pregnant 16 year-old prostitute and her drug-addict boyfriend Sandy; all three leave New York; Liam resumes running; reviewer remarks, Collins is undoubtedly an exciting talent, capable of writing razor-sharp prose gripping, stylish novel [...] not a book for the faint-hearted.
John Kenny, review of Emerald Underground [with Hugo Hamiton, Sad Bastard], in The Irish Times, 3 Oct. 1998: notes metamorphosis via rash: My new skin had a hard roughness, more scar than skin, the armour of prehistoric survival; sells clean piss and works in abbatoir; sets of for Pennsylvania with 16-year old prostitute Angel and her pimp Sandy; trailer park sequence; five mile race serves as climactic scene after he revives his athletic skills; the best attempt yet in Irish fiction to deal with the sub-species of Irish illegals in the Eighties [...] considerably damaged by the aggressive hipness of the sordidness [and] imprecations; notes frequency of word shite.
John Kenny, review of Michael Collins, The Resurrectionists (London: Phoenix House), 360pp.: The Keepers of Truth was shortlisted for Booker and IMPAC prizes; the novel concerns twenty-something narrator Frank who returns to Michigan to investigate death of stepfather-uncle and revisit the scenes of a traumatic childhood. Kenny questions the authenticity of the American world recreated from the 1950s to the 1970s: The inconsistencies in the narrators characterisation are distracting, even if these are meant to reflect his damaged psyche; but some of Collinss secondary characters more consistently abet his primarily emphasis on full-blooded story development; Despite headlong inattention to self-editing, Collins is commendably pursuing here something still rare in Irish fiction: a diversified, idiosyncratic, sequential plot. Kenny speaks at the outset of Collins as an author who writes on the run, a not-dismissive reference to his admission that he makes up his plots to stave off boredom while long-distance running. Notes also that Emerald Underground was written in two to three months. (Irish Times, 13 April, Weekend, p.10.)
John Kenny, reviewoing of Michael Collins, The Keepers of Truth (Phoenix House), 297pp., summarises a plot in which a father in a mid-west American town comes to suspect that his steroid-popping son murdered and dismembered his victim, and remarks: This kind of literary crime/thriller framework has been widely employed by Irish male authors in recent years, usually to moribund effect. [ ] there has been insufficient acknowledgement of the fact that this subgenre, withits established plot elements, is inherently formulaic and requires considerable stylistic dexterity and formal nuance; remarks that Collinss brand of macho, streetwise and often vicious prose nascent in The Meat Eaters (1992) and significantly, though imperfectly, developed in his last novel, The Emerald Underground (1998) here achieves a new tautness which helps maintain a frenetic pace and a genuine suspense, and concludes: Michael Collins has bridled the voice of the malcontent and has produced something that is rare enough in contemporary Irish fiction: a well-written and scoially conscientious novel. (Times Literary Supplement, 5 Feb. 2000.)
Eve Patten, reviewing The Keepers of Truth (Phoenix), in The Irish Times [Weekend] (26 Feb. 2000), compares the new novel with its predecessor (Emerald Underground): That novels success lay partly in its narrative voice - a breezy, Irish-American vernacu!ar which pulled the reader along at a cracking pace - so the very different style adopted in The Keepers Truth is surprising. Gone is the quick-fire colloquialism, and in its place comes a slow, lugubrious prose, weighted with dark imagery and building into an intense and moody thriller, and remarks: [G]enerally the balance between story and social diagnosis is well mastered. Collins is a clever writer, but not an alienating one. His style is appropriately allusive; the de rigueur Chandlerese (It was one of those storms that lets men breathe easy ) combines with a gesture to Steinbeck and perhaps a hint of Annie Proulx to lay the right foundations for his own distinctive voice, which comes through in some terrific writing, particularly the superb setpieces [sic] on the torpor of the, American Rust-Belt. Thoroughly edgy, thoroughly enjoyable, The Keepers of Truth is an impressive performance from a rich and unpredictable talent. [...; for fuller version, see infra.]
Belinda McKeon, paperback notice, in The Irish Times ( Oct 2004): Collinss portrait of a man, and a society, uncertain whether morals count for anything at all is, masterful, but his novel strains under the-demands of thecrime thriller genre; too many threads remain trailing, too many questions unanswered, by its close. [See summary, in Notes, infra.]
[ top ]
[ top ]
Publishers note calls The Life and Times of a Teaboy (1994) a novel set in Limerick; family life and descent into madness; Ambrose Feeney, by his own account certifiably committed, sees his hopes dashed by others influence and his own inertia; starkly sane portrait of family life without mist of legend.
The Hackney Coach (Druid 2000), dir. Gary Hynes, concerns two likely lads, owner Christy Quinn (played by Brian F. OByrne) and driver Jude (Andrew Lovern) who set up a non-functioning taxi company into which the sinister intruder Danny (Sean McGinley ) intrudes. (See Irish Emigrant Arts Review, Dec. 2000.)
Pseud.? Anna Dillon [pseud. of Michael Collins], Another Season (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 2003), 502pp., listed in Books Ireland (Sept. 2003), p.214.
[ top ]