Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Eamon MAHER, John McGahern, From the Local to the Universal, Dublin, The Liffey Press, 2003, 191 pp., ISBN 1-904148-40-9.


John McGahern has distinguished himself as one of Ireland's finest living novelists and short story writers with such works as The Pornographer, The Barracks, Amongst Women, and the controversial The Dark, which was banned in Ireland. His latest novel, By the Lake, earned him much critical acclaim, and he was one of only four recipients of a 2003 Lannan Literary Award. In this comprehensive guide to the fiction of John McGahern, Eamon Maher argues that in his themes, scenes, scenarios, and characters, which on the surface seem to originate from a limited source--the local--we can find genuine and profound portrayals of the entire scope of human experience. This is what makes McGahern's work so admirable and significant. He also looks at McGahern's work in the broader context of changes in Irish society over the course of McGahern's career, and points to the writer's moral courage in writing about difficult aspects of Irish society at a time when it was not so popular to do so.