Ré Ó Laighléis

Commentary

Life
1953- ; b. Dublin; worked in various jobs before taking Irish and Sociology at UCG; conversion course, St. Patrick’s, Drumcondra (TTC); completed M.Ed. in reading education, Boston College, Mass.; issued An Punk agus Scéalta Eile (1988), selling up 32,000 copies to 1999; also An Taistealaí (1990); turned to fulltime writing, 1991; issued Ciorcal Meiteamorfach (1991); Ecstasy agus scéalta eile (1994), trans. as Ecstasy and Other Stories (1996); winner of Bisto Book Award for children’s books; also Sceoin sa Bhoireann [Terror on the Burren], and Gafa, a novel of heroin addiction, added to the Leaving Cert. syllabus in 1999; trans. as Hooked (1999), the story of Alan's slide into addiction and his mother Sandra's discovery of his father's adultery.

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Works
  • An Punk agus Scéalta Eile (Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1988), rep. as Scéalta Do Dhoaine Óga (1991), 62pp., and Do. (Cló Mhaigh Eo 1998), 93pp.;
  • Ciorcal Meiteamorfach (Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1991), 112p.;
  • An Taistealaí: nóibhille do dhé agóirí (Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 1990), 85pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] ([Maigh Eo]: Cló Mhaigh Eo, 1998), 93pp.;
  • Ecstasy agus Scéalta Eile (Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1994); Do. [trans.] as Ecstasy and Other Stories (Poolbeg [Beacon] 1996), and Do., as Ecstasy agus Sgealachdan Eile (Inverness: Clár 2004), 126pp. [in Scottish Gaelic];
  • Gafa (BAC: Comhar 1996), 143pp., [rep.edn.] (Ballyvaughan: Móinín 2004), 139pp.;
  • Aistear I ntinne [An Chéad Chló] (Coscéim 1996), 170pp.;
  • Cluain Soineantachta [An Chéad Chló] (Dublin: Comhar [1997]), 107pp.;
  • Terror on the Burren (Ballyvaughan: Móinín, 1998), 114pp.;
  • Hooked (Ballyvaughan: Móinín 1999), 129pp.;
  • Sceoin sa Bhoireann (Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1995), 150pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Baile Ui Bheachain, Co. an Chlair: Moinin, 2005), 118pp.;
  • Heart of the Burren: A Collection of Stories (Ballyvaughan: Móinín 2002), 174pp.;
  • Bolgchaint agus scealta eile ( Baile Ui Bheachain: Móinín 2004 ), 101pp.;
  • The Great Book of Shapers: A Right Kick of the Arts (Ballyvaughan: Moinin 2006), 114pp.

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Commentary
Teresa Doran, reivew of Hooked [rep. edn.] , in Books Ireland (Dec. 2007): ‘[...] Teacher Brendan, stay-at-home wife Sandra and their teenage children, Alan and Naomi, are your typical middle-class, suburban Dublin family. Then, while cleaning under her son's bed, Sandra discovers the “works” for intravenous drug use. Horrified and disbelieving, she wants to confide in her husband, needing to get him on side, before confronting her son, but the support she hopes for is not forthcoming. In a world filled with his own lies, Brendan is more concerned in covering the tracks of his affair with the young school secretary. A secret that ironically Alan has already stumbled upon, and abusing his father's vulnerable position, uses to extort money from his father, which he then uses to feed his developing habit. As the twisted plot web develops, both father and son slip into the same phraseology when evading Sandra's questions: “You know how it is”, and “You know yourself.” In desperation, Sandra shops her own son to the police, but with a clever defence lawyer and promises regarding a detox programme, he slips through even that “protective” net. Now a legal adult, Alan is beyond parental control and has left the family home. Moving into the shady world of dealers, his life spirals downwards. His only friends now are drugs and Cillian, son of a respected pharmacist - both of whom ultimately betray him. [...] Mostly the narrative fluctuates between son to mother. Occasionally, Brendan's viewpoint is given [...] A page-turner, chilling in its brutality, but sympathetic to its characters - and a “must-read” for all from 17 upwards.’

Reference
Moinin Publ. (Loch Reasca, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare), lists Battle for the Burren; Heart of the Burren (stories); The Great Book of Shapers: A Right Kick of the Arts; Ecstasy and Other Stories; Hooked; Terror of the Burren (Books Ireland, Sept. 2007). See www.moinin.ie.

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