Baker, J C (2003) Offcomer. Vintage. ISBN 0099437791

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Offcomer re-examines the idea of the Irish Writer as exile. In doing so it offers an insight not only into this much debated issue within Irish studies but also into Northern Irish culture. The book is original in that it shows a culture commonly understood in binaries (Protestant and Catholic, nationalist and loyalist) to be complex and polyphonic, including secular, gay, youth, and immigrant experiences and voices. Baker's portrayal of the damaged city of Belfast through the eyes of a self-harming young woman offers an original insight into a place, and a condition, most frequently constructed through clich'. The novel combines a broad knowledge of Irish writing with personal observation of Belfast, its people, and the implicit and explicit boundaries between communities and places. Equally important was the extensive research undertaken into the political and historical aspects of the book, with Baker using contemporary accounts of Belfast to capture a particular historical moment: after the ceasefire but before any certainty of permanent peace. As the protagonist's father was disabled by a stroke, Baker also researched the impact of brain-injury, and the phenomenon of self-harm, using both secondary sources and her own interviews with sufferers and their families. RAE_import_type : Authored book RAE_uoa_type : English Language and Literature
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06 Mar 2008 12:24
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22 Nov 2022 12:17