From land to soil : Digging in The Nameless Dead (2012) by Brian McGilloway

Abstract : In the entire Inspector Devlin series, the borderland is central to the plot of Brian McGilloway’s novels, but in The Nameless Dead, written in 2012, not only is the borderland a dividing line, a defining element in the plot and in the narrative, but the actual soil of the borderland is equally fundamental to the meaning of the novel. The attention of the reader is brought from the borderland and its post-1998 Agreement and post-Celtic Tiger crash issues, whether social, political or economic, to the soil that makes up the ground. As a material element the fulfils the role of a potentiality that disturbs what appears as a hopelessly already written future, and points towards the possibility of renewal. But above all, the shift of focus from the land to the soil also questions the notions of authority and responsibility in building that future. Because, as opposed to the land, the soil appears a-political, its power it to address issues that go beyond everyday politics on either part of the border and reach out to what actually be done to build a better future. The land and the borderland are represented as stasis and part of a long never-ending chain of crimes, but it is also interesting to examine how beyond the scraping and digging, the soil appears to have a life of its own, in turmoil. Finally, I will argue that beyond metaphors, the materiality of the soil is a means to question the idea of authority and responsibility in building the future.
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Contributeur : Marie Mianowski <>
Soumis le : jeudi 8 novembre 2018 - 17:32:29
Dernière modification le : samedi 10 novembre 2018 - 01:05:07


  • HAL Id : hal-01916781, version 1



Marie Mianowski. From land to soil : Digging in The Nameless Dead (2012) by Brian McGilloway. 2018. 〈hal-01916781〉



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