Poguemahone – dark telling of one Irish family’s troubled life story
Una Fogarty, suffering from dementia in a seaside nursing home, would be all alone without her brother Dan, whose epic free-verse monologue tells their family story. Exile from Ireland and immigrant life in England. Their mother’s trials as a call girl. Young Una’s search for love in a seemingly haunted hippie squat, and the two-timing Scottish stoner poet she’ll never get over. Now she sits outside in the sun as her memories unspool from Dan’s mouth and his own role in the tale grows ever stranger— and more sinister.
A swirling, psychedelic, bleakly funny fugue, Patrick McCabe’s epic reinvention of the verse novel combines Modernist fragmentation and Beat spontaneity with Irish folklore, then douses it in whiskey and sets it on fire. Drinking song and punk libretto, ancient as myth and wholly original,
From Dan’s anarchic account, we gradually piece together the story of the Fogarty family. How the parents are exiled from a small Irish village and end up living the hard immigrant life in England. How Dots, the mother, becomes a call girl in 1950s Soho. How a young and overweight Una finds herself living in a hippie squat in Kilburn in the early 1970s. How the squat appears to be haunted by vindictive ghosts who eat away at the sanity of all who live there.
And, finally, how all that survives now of those sex-and-drug-soaked times are Una’s unspooling memories as she sits outside in the Margate sunshine, and Dan himself, whose role in the story becomes stranger and more sinister. Poguemahone is a wild, free-verse monologue, steeped in music and folklore, crammed with characters, both real and imagined, on a scale Patrick McCabe has never attempted before. A devastating telling of one family’s history—and the forces, seen and unseen, that make their fate.
Available from Biblioasis
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.