Lee Dunne

Life
1934- ; [Christopher Lee Dunne] b. Dublin; became London taxi driver, working in the Dorchester while learning the city areas for examination; wrote his early fiction at the taxi stand; Goodbye to the Hill (London: Hutchinson 1965; Arrow Books 1966) - considered the Irish Catcher in the Rye (Salinger); made a successful play in 1978 - running for 24 weeks; revived 1985; issued A Bed in the Sticks (1969); Does Your Mother (London: Arrow Books 1970); Paddy Maguire is Dead (1972), which was banned in Ireland with the assent of John Broderick; and then the Cabbie series: Midnight Cabbie (1974); The Cabbie who Came in from the Cold (1975);Virgin Cabbies (1976); The Cabfather (1975), which had the distinction of being the last book banned in Ireland; also Maggie’s Story (1975); Ringleader (1980);

issued Hell is Filling Up and The Corpse Wore White, both as Peter O’Neill [pseud.] for Olympia Press - neither of which were banned in Ireland; has written 750 episodes of Harbour Hill; presented [his] own TV show; author of urban drama series, Konvenience Korner (RTE); later issued No Time for Innocence (2000) - autobiography; Barleycorn Blues (2004) - praised by Alan Sillitoe; Dancers of Fortune (2005); had a stint installed by heart-surgeon Peter Quigley, 2009; adopted daily gym exercise regime; Poolbeg issued a 40th anniversary edition of the much-banned Goodbye to the Hill in October 2005; Dunne lives Co. Wicklow; contributing a column to The Sunday Times, 2011. DIW DIL OCIL

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Works
Fiction
  • Goodbye to the Hill (London: Hutchinson 1965; Arrow Books 1966), 192pp.; & Do. [rep. edn. as ], with author’s preface (Dublin: Poolbeg 2005),
  • A Bed in the Sticks (London: Hutchinson 1968; Arrow Books 1969), 256pp.;
  • Does Your Mother? (London: Arrow Books 1970), 192pp.;
  • Paddy Maguire is Dead (Arrow Books 1972), 384pp.;
  • Big Al (London: Futura Publ. 1975), 143pp.;
  • The Day of the Cabbie (London: Futura Publ. 1975), 192pp.;
  • Midnight Cabbie (London: Cornet Books 1974), 156pp.;
  • The Cabbie Who Came in from the Cold (London: Coronet Books 1975), 156pp.;
  • Virgin Cabbies (London: Futura Publ. 1976), 188pp.;
  • The Cabfather (London: Coronet Books 1975), 159pp.;
  • Maggie’s Story (London: Futura Publ. 1975);
  • Ringleader (Glasgow: Molendinar Press 1981), 253pp.; Do., as Ringmaster (NY: Simon & Schuster 1980); also as Ringleader (Merlin Publ. 1986), 256pp.
  • Barleycorn Blues (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 2004), 357pp.;
  • Dancers of Fortune (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 2005), iii, 584pp.
  • Seasons of Destiny (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 2006), 456pp.
Autobiography
  • No Time for Innocence (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 2000), 226pp.;

As Peter O’Neill, Lover [The Traveller’s Companion Ser., No. 215] (Paris: Olympia 1966), 222pp.; also Hell is Filling Up and The Corpse Wore White.

Miscellaneous,
  • Sober Thoughts on Alcoholism (Nat. Council on Alcoholism 1975), 12pp., port [on cover].

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Criticism
Interview Banned in Ireland, ed. Carlson (Georgia UP; London: Routledge 1990), pp.83-95.

 

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Notes
Vincent Smith, Dubliner, appeared 1,000 times as Harry Redmond, the central char. of Goodbye to the Hill (see interview with Smith, Sunday Independent, 11.2.1996), L10.

Censored: Lee Dunne’s trilogy Goodbye to the Hill, A Bed in the Sticks, and Paddy Maguire is Dead was banned in 1972. The trilogy centres on Paddy Maguire, a representative of the Dublin poor coping with economic underdvelopment and social exclusion.

Goodbye to the Hill (1966; Poolbeg 2005) - Amazon notice to Poolbeg edition: Goodbye to the Hill has been hailed as an Irish classic and Lee Dunne as one of Ireland’s most successful writers. In 1978, it was made into a stage play that had a 26-week run, “at a time when 4 weeks was a big deal in Dublin,” says Dunne. In this new edition, Dunne adds a preface that tells the quirky story of its overwhelming success.

The Ringleader (1980): ‘The talents for Irish atmosphere and character on display in Dunne's Goodbye to the Hill (1966) are only tapped a bit in this fast, tight, not-quite-riveting I.R.A. thriller. Someone claiming to be Colonel Valentine of Britain's ant-I.R.A. intelligence unit arranges for English bomb-expert Sonny Gunn to be sprung from prison; and then ""Colonel Valentine"" sends Sonny off to Ireland to infiltrate and spy on a commando-training brigade there. Sonny, thrilled to be out of stir, does his best--but, in virtually no time at all, his cover is blown and Sonny is executed by the Provos. The killing, however, has only just begun--because Sonny's twin brother Steve, an ex-Army trained killer (“a bloody destruction machine”) now happily employed as a gentle gameskeeper, receives a tormented posthumous letter in which Sonny names the four Provo biggies who sentenced him to death. So off goes deadly Steve to Ireland, quietly determined to assassinate those four I.R.A. chiefs (with ingenious plots and disguises). And meanwhile, the real Col. Valentine has a double mission: to try and stop Steve's murder march (it is endangering chances for an Ulster truce) and to figure who the phony Col. Valentine was--the man who planned that it all should turn out exactly the way it has, Dunne handles the Steve/Valentine alternating focus with professional ease; but neither Valentine (who has a terminally alcoholic wife and a fed-up mistress) nor Gunn (a decent fellow emotionally maimed by childhood sexual abuse) ever really grabs gut sympathy for his quest. As a result, this cleanly plotted and crisply delivered action-suspense ever so slightly misses the target--taut, literate work just a bit short on originality and emotional involvement.’ (Kirkus notice; available online; access 09.09.2018.) [Notice that this novel appeared as The Ringmaster in the USA.]

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