Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eureka Street A Novel of Ireland Like No Other

Overview from Barnes and Noble


When your street address can either save your life or send it up the creek, there’s no telling what kind of daily challenges you’ll face in the era of the Northern Irish Troubles.
“All stories are love stories,” begins Eureka Street, Robert McLiam Wilson’s big-hearted and achingly funny novel. Set in Belfast during the Troubles, Eureka Street takes us into the lives and families of Chuckie Lurgan and Jake Jackson, a Protestant and a Catholic—unlikely pals and staunch allies in an uneasy time. When a new work of graffiti begins to show up throughout the city—“OTG”—the locals are stumped. The harder they try to decipher it, the more it reflects the passions and paranoias that govern and divide them.
Chuckie and Jake are as mystified as everyone else. In the meantime, they try to carve out lives for themselves in the battlefield they call home. Chuckie falls in love with an American who is living in Belfast to escape the violence in her own land; the best Jake can do is to get into a hilarious and remorseless war of insults with a beautiful but spitfire Republican whose Irish name, properly pronounced, sounds to him like someone choking.
The real love story in Eureka Street involves Belfast—the city’s soul and spirit, and its will to survive the worst it can do to itself.


I was more than a few chapters into this novel before I decided that I was going to like it. One of the first things I have to get out of the way here is that authors who write with so many words that I have never heard (and I have to keep stopping to look them up) tend to leave me wanting to put the book down and not pick it up again.

I'm glad I didn't do that with Eureka Streets. But I was tempted. I don't know if that is just 'his style' or if I just don't know that many words. But I persevered and in the end I liked the book.

Eureka Street takes place in Northern Ireland. Belfast, in fact. During the time they called 'The Troubles'. It is a time of political and sectarian feuding among paramilitary thugs. It takes place shortly before and shortly after the ceasefires by the IRA.

The book is centered around the lives of two friends: Jake and Chuckie who are Catholic and Protestant but seem to be united because neither of them are unable to form grown-up relationships.

Eureka Street is the name of the street Chuckie lives on. Poetry Street is where Jake lives. The first half of the book is spent reading about the lives of these two and their friends. The author uses humor well in the developing of his characters. Chuckie is a fat, thirty year old who has mostly wasted his life and still lives with his mother. He concocts a pretty ridiculous 'get rich' scheme that makes him wealthy. He falls in love with a beautiful American girl who leaves him and returns to America. He is heartbroken and goes after her.

Jake is a reformed thug who lives alone with his cat and seeks to find love. He is the narrator of the story that begins with:

All Stories are Love Stories!
 
Half-way through the book is a chapter that changes the story. There is a very graphic bomb scene and the lives of all the character changes.
 
The novel wraps up in ways that are to be expected. I found it a nice look into Ireland and some of their people's ways. I was forced to go to the Internet and learn a bit more about Ireland and their "Troubles".
 
 
Thank you to my friend Kwizgiver, not only for the recommendation, but for the Lend Me with our Nooks. 


8 comments:

  1. Does sound like an intriguing one. Another book to consider reading after A/Z :)

    betty

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    1. I am happy to keep your list growing Betty!

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It is one of my favorites.

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    1. Since you have been to Ireland, I can see why you loved it so much!

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  3. There's a look up feature on the Nook. Isn't there? Is that how you looked up all the words you didn't know? (I have a Nook, too, and need to find people to borrow books from/lend books to.)

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    1. Yes, there is a feature on the Nook to look things up. I was just exhausted from doing it so much.

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  4. Visiting you in these closing days of the #Challenge. Always happy to find another writer. If you have time or energy at this point in April, come and see what I’ve been up to. Love finding good blogs like yours. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you Stepheny I will drop in on you!

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