ISBN-13:
9781843517399

The Cruelty Men is a new novel by prize-winning author Emer Martin. It is a sweeping multi-generational view of an Irish-speaking family who moved from Kerry to the Meath Gaeltacht and the disasters that befall their children in Irish institutions. This story, spanning from the `30s to the late `60s, is narrated through linked family voices.
The Cruelty Men is a new novel by prize-winning author Emer Martin. It is a sweeping multi-generational view of an Irish-speaking family who moved from Kerry to the Meath Gaeltacht and the disasters that befall their children in Irish institutions. This story, spanning from the `30s to the late `60s, is narrated through linked family voices. Martin's brisk, accomplished tome offers a sweeping, multi-generational view of Irish misfortune and suffering: land issues, clerical abuse, systemic violence in societal and familial structures, enslavement of the disempowered by institutions, entrenched inequality between classes and sexes, the violent destruction of culture and community by state and church collusion ... It's a daunting set of themes: familiar, drudgerous, miserable. That it deals with all these heavy and culturally degraded themes in a way that is gripping, surprising and warm is an immense credit to the author's talent as a storyteller, her rigorous imagination of characters and scenes, and her sincerity. Martin's Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries are the Irish cousins of Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn's Gulags; her dispassionate depiction of the ordinary psychotic violence at the heart of families and society in rural Ireland is akin to that of Ferrante's Naples. With an unflinching gaze and emotional punch, Martin is in a lofty place. The intimacy of the first-person accounts makes the reader care about every character. There's a stoicism about the characters that makes their suffering all the more moving and dignified. Mary's life of constant toil doesn't make her mean, cold or envious. She remains


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