The Dirty Dust
Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s irresistible and infamous novel The Dirty Dust is consistently
ranked as the most important prose work in modern Irish,
yet no translation for English-language readers has ever
before been published. Alan Titley’s vigorous new translation,
full of the brio and guts of Ó Cadhain’s original, at last
brings the pleasures of this great satiric novel to the
far wider audience it deserves.
In The Dirty Dust all characters lie dead in their graves. This, however, does
not impair their banter or their appetite for news of aboveground
happenings from the recently arrived. Told entirely in
dialogue, Ó Cadhain’s daring novel listens in on the gossip,
rumours, backbiting, complaining, and obsessing of the
local community. In the afterlife, it seems, the same
goes on beneath the sod. Only nothing can be done about
it—apart from talk. In this merciless yet comical portrayal
of a closely bound community, Ó Cadhain remains keenly
attuned to the absurdity of human behaviour, the lilt of
Irish gab, and the nasty, deceptive magic of human connection.
Glactar leis go bhfuil sé seo ar cheann de na leabhair
is fearr, muna bhfuil sé an leabhar is fearr, i litríocht
na Gaeilge. Suite i measc na ndaoine marbh i reilig in
iarthar na Gaillimhe, is é nuálaíocht na hinsinte agus
géire na cainte na tréithe is suntasaí a bhaineann leis.
Máirtín Ó Cadhain; Translated to English by Alan Titley.
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