| 14.4°C Dublin

Northern Ireland as seen in Rosemary Jenkinson’s superbly anarchic vignettes

Close

Rosemary Jenkinson has said Northern Ireland writers seem to have no more ability than politicians to move on from the past

Rosemary Jenkinson has said Northern Ireland writers seem to have no more ability than politicians to move on from the past

Marching Season by Rosemary Jenkinson

Marching Season by Rosemary Jenkinson

/

Rosemary Jenkinson has said Northern Ireland writers seem to have no more ability than politicians to move on from the past

Marching Season Rosemary Jenkinson Arlen House, €15

Back in November, playwright and short story writer Rosemary Jenkinson’s article, ‘The Troubles with Northern Irish literature’, landed her in the middle of a literary skirmish due to her assertion that “we writers seem to have no more ability than our politicians to move on from the past”.

Her new short story collection, playfully entitled Marching Season, is a fresh and witty exercise in engaging with an ever-present past while also exercising the freedom to overlook it at will.

Where the legacy of the Troubles and a threat of violence looms in the collection, it is never in a straightforward or straightforwardly educative way.

In ‘Portrait of a European City’, a city councillor’s “grand plan to transform Belfast” implodes when a contentious Sinn Féin MLA is mistakenly invited to the opening of an East Belfast art gallery.

A former IRA man tries to save a young neighbour from pursuing a similar path in ‘The Night They Shot the Journalist’.

The narrator of the eponymous story, a drag queen called Marcus, willingly puts himself in the middle of an Eleventh Night fracas. These are stories about characters trying to live in the present day, the past merely another fact of life to contend with. 

Close

Marching Season by Rosemary Jenkinson

Marching Season by Rosemary Jenkinson

Marching Season by Rosemary Jenkinson

More contentious, arguably, is Jenkinson’s gloriously anarchic attitude towards sexuality, one over which she is at once fiercely proud and defensive. The women of Marching Season do not represent some sex-positive feminist idyll: they are selfish partners, refreshingly unconcerned with ethics or politics.

In ‘The Cure for Too Much Loving’, in an effort to please a man Bronagh embarks upon a one-sided ménage à trois with him and his girlfriend, without tying herself up in knots over what this means about her sexuality.

In ‘The Airport Game’, Hannah pushes her boyfriend Niall to the edges of his discomfort by flirting with a stranger, in an effort to punish him for his more storied sexual past.

Cora, an artist, tries out Tinder and matches with a man she vaguely knows, only to discover he was previously arrested for grooming pre-teen girls online. Nevertheless, she arranges a date with him.

Video of the Day

Another pen would subject Cora to more scrutiny, if not outright punishment. What kind of woman doesn’t care that her hook-up may be a paedophile? As it is, Cora shakes off any discomfort by repeating: “Life is short and fun should be had.”

This phrase gives the story its title, though it could equally function as an ethos statement for Jenkinson’s vigorous collection. 


Most Watched





Privacy