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 old life 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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