1910-1988; b. Cathcor Muir, Co. Down; raised in Cavan, various jobs travelling
round America, 1930-38; RAF navigator in World War II; Myself and
Some Ducks, his earliest piece published in The Bell in 1945
under pseudonym Michael McGrian censored by printers; novels include The
Ferret Fancier (1963); As Towns with Fire (1968); many others,
topic usually RAF wartime experience; became member of Aosdana in 1981;
settled in London; father of 12 children (acc. cover notice of Ferret).
DIW DIL [FDA] OCIL
Short Stories, Rivers End and Other Stories (NY: McDowell,
The Native Moment (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1961); Rebel
to Judgement (NY 1962) The Ferret Fancier (NY: Simon &
Schuster 1963; Dublin 1983); As Towns with Fire (London: MacGibbon
& Kee 1968), Do., rep. (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985), 573pp.;
All the Kings Horses (Swords 1981), and other works.
John Cronin, Prose, in Michael Longley, ed., Causeway:
The Arts in Ulster (1971), pp.72-94, espec. pp.73-74; see also J.
W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (1974).
The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, gen. ed., Seamus Deane (Derry:
Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, notes only theme of growth in adversity [J. W.
Foster, ed.], 940.
Time and a windless noon, the leaves on the trees limp in the heavy
sun and the time he had first learned to appreciate a tree - a thing bone-bare
and then clad in a cloud of feathers. (The Ferret Fancier,
As Towns With Fire (1968), Christopher MacMannan is an Irishman in
England in the late 1930s waiting with the rest of the world for the coming
conflagration; reviewing his past life and reflecting on everythings
awful wisdom, drifts from woman to woman, meeting and marrying Moly
Chester; ... with the crazy logic of war he finds himself (at heart a
pacifist), helping to obliterate German towns as a member of the RAF Pathfinder
unit; describes fear filled childhood in bigoted Ireland; Londoners life
during blitz, and self-absorbed world of airmen [on] night-raids. Cover
picture is David McKittrick oil painting [unnamed].
Not to be confused with Anthony West,
the son of Rebecca West and H. G. Wells. [Not in Ormsby, Northern Windows]
West found in At Swim-Two-Birds long passages in imitation of Joycean parody as devastatingly
dull. (See Inspired Nonsense [review] reprinted in Rüdiger
Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O! Flann OBriens At Swim-Two-Birds,
Dublin: Wolfhound 1985, p.55.)