Tuesday 25 September 2018

'A calculating, control freak,' claims the first wife of late author John McGahern

ISOBEL CONWAY THE first wife of the late John McGahern has emerged from obscurity to allege that the writer was far from upset about the banning of his book The Dark and, in fact, revelled in his new-found notoriety.

Far from being shattered and disillusioned after the book was banned by the Irish Board of Censorship in 1965, John McGahern, who died in March, enjoyed his role as a cause celebre, claims the woman who was by his side and shared his life at the time.

"The truth is John was very pleased after the book was banned because it got him a lot of attention internationally, adding to his success. Marrying me soon afterwards in a registry office abroad was deliberate, to make the conflict even sharper," claimed McGahern's Finnish-born first wife Annikki Laaksi, to whom he dedicated The Dark.

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