David Park

WorksCriticismNotes


Life
1953- [var. 1954]; b. Belfast; issued The Healing (1992), the story of Samuel Anderson, and young Protestant boy on a farm outside Derry whose father, a UDR Sargeant, is assassinated by the IRA and who derives spiritual comfort from the preacher Mr Ellison and others in his religious community, ending with Ellison’s killing of his own son to prevent a sectarian murder; issued Coral (1996), a novel of a disillusioned young Belfast woman who works in African aid camps, and returns to Donegal to face terrible truth about death of her father; winner of the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature and a twice winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award;
 
The Truth Commissioner (2007), featuring Henry Stanfield, an Anglo-Irishman formerly living in S. Africa who visits Belfast as peace-commissioner and meets with the Republican-turned-Minister of Children and Culture, Francis Gilroy, the retired RUC-man James Fenton, and Danny, a young IRA man who has fled to America after the kidnapping of a young boy, Conor Walshe, went horribly wrong; read out on BBC4; lives in Co. Down with his wife and two children.

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Works
Novels, The Healing (Jonathan Cape 1992; Phoenix 1993; Bloomsbury 2004), 192pp.; The Rye Man (London: Jonathan Cape 1994); Stone Kingdoms (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1996); The Big Snow (London: Bloomsbury 2002); Swallowing the Sun (London: Bloomsbury 2004); The Truth Commissioner (London: Bloomsbury 2007), 380pp. Short fiction, Oranges from Spain (London, Jonathan Cape 1990); 288pp.

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Criticism
  • Joseph O’Connor, ‘Mummies’ boy’, review of Swallowing the Sun, in The Guardian (1 May 2004) [‘Flawed, brilliant, knotty, uncompromising, this is not an easy novel, but it is an important and beautiful one’];
  • Sue Leonard, review of The Truth Commissioner, in Books Ireland (March 2008), pp.52-53 [‘shimmers with style ... deep understanding of his subject ... an important yet accessible novel’];
  • Stefanie Lehner, ‘Post-Conflict Masculinities: Filiative Reconciliation in Five Minutes of Heaven and David Park’s The Truth Commissioner’, in Irish Masculinities: Reflections on Literature and Culture, ed. Caroline Magennis & Raymond Mullen (Dublin: IAP 2011) [q.pp.].
 

See also Aveen McManus, “Narratives of Childhood - A Comparative Study” (UUC, MA Diss., 2005) [with Frances Molloy, Jennifer Johnston, Glenn Patterson, Seamus Deane, Edna O’Brien, Patrick MacCabe].

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Notes
The Healing (1992): A man is shot dead before the eyes of his young son as they work together in the fields near their home - another victim of the violence in Northern Ireland. In the city, a confused and frightened old man grieves for his own loss and for the shattered world around him. When the young boy's mother moves them both from their country home to Belfast, the old man's life becomes entwined with that of the boy. Fascinated by the silent child, the old man believes he has at last found the instrument of healing. [Publisher’s Notice in COPAC.]

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The Big Snow (2002): It is Northern Ireland, in 1963. In a house with windows flung defiantly wide, a wife dies before her husband can make his confession. Elsewhere, an old woman searches desperately for a wedding dress in her dream of love. And in the very heart of the city, the purity of snow is tainted by the murder of a young woman, leaving one man in race against time - to find the murderer before the snow melts. This is the story of a time muffled and made claustrophobic by unprecedented snow falls. Suddenly shaken free from the normal patterns of their lives by the extremity of the weather, people find their intimate desires thrown into sharp relief and David Park shows this flawed slice of humanity to be somehow glorious. [Publisher’s Notice in COPAC.]

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Birthdate: 1953 in COPAC [online]; 1954 in Philip Casey Irishwriters [online]

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