Thursday, March 30, 2006

John McGahern Passes Away

It has just appeared on that John McGahern has passed away suddenly at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Mr. McGahern was one of my favourite writers and of course one of the country's finest literary voices. His short stories are a masterclass in symmetry and meaning and his recent Memoir reminded us that at its best, a literary work should not only reveal to us something of the human condition, where the particular illuminates the universal, but should also be a prose poem. I was thinking only last night as I browsed the works of another of my favourite writers that it wouldn't be long before people of our generation began to say goodbye to the artists whose new works we've looked forward to seizing on with gluttonous excitement. Artists who were producing as we came of age and who continued to produce and inform as we grew into our adult estates. And I thought "it will be strange to find that I have started to become upset at the passing of individuals I didn't know at all". Well, I'm a little bit upset today.
UPDATE: The Boston Globe carried an interview with McGahern two weeks ago which explained that he could not travel to America because he was receiving treatment for cancer. While I'm at it, the pages of a recent edition of the Irish University Review are devoted largely to the great man and the Dublin Review also carries an article about Memoir (not to mention a fine short story by Colm Toibin and a very sobering but enlightening piece on the Ferns report).


Blogger f├║star said...

I was quite upset when I heard too...

Met him once, in Kenny's (Galway) and he signed a collection of short stories for me. Seemed a lovely guy, as well as being a marvellous novelist.

Sad news.

3/30/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Kieran said...

I never met him, but I certainly met his work. It's a loss all right...

4/01/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't i just finish reading a lengthy review of " All Will Be Well", McGahern's memoir, in the Boston Irish Reporter by Peter F. Stevens. I have never read McGahern and was so impressed by the review that I put his memoir on my next read. So sorry to hear of his passing.

4/20/2006 06:37:00 PM  
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