John McGahern Passes Away
It has just appeared on Ireland.com 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).