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Audrey Magee

Autor(a) de The Colony

5 Works 602 Membros 44 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Audrey Magee worked for twelve years as a journalist and has written for, among others, The Times, The Irish Times, the Observer and the Guardian. She studied German and French at University College Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University. She lives in Wicklow, with her husband and three mostrar mais daughters. the Undertaking is her first novel. mostrar menos
Image credit: Audrey Magee [credit: Patrick Redmond]

Obras de Audrey Magee


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Locais de residência
Wicklow, Ireland
University College Dublin
Dublin City University
Pequena biografia
Audrey Magee worked for twelve years as a journalist and has written for, among others, The Times, The Irish Times, the Observer and Guardian. She studied German and French at University College Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University. She lives in Wicklow with her husband and three daughters. The Undertaking is her first novel.

In her 20s and 30s, she travelled extensively, first as a student, living in Germany and Australia, where she taught English; later as a journalist, covering, among many other issues, the war in Bosnia, child labour in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the impact of Perestroika on Central Asia. She was Ireland Correspondent of The Times for six years, and wrote extensively about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the subsequent peace process and the chaos caused by the Omagh bomb



A fine book with gorgeous physical descriptions of summer on a remote Irish island through the eye of the artist protagonist. "continent's outpost...empire's edge...endlessness of sky, azure blue, sky blue, turquoise blue, gentian blue, cobalt blue, Prussian blue, Persian blue, France blue, layered and thickened, indigo, Payne's grey, Mars black, ivory black, reaching into infinity...copying how the sun shaded and lit the outcrops, the caves, the folds and creases of the rock...each moment of sun and shade different to the one that went before."
I'm in a class studying color use in writing so I am ecstatically expanding my lexicon.
The shocking pieces between chapters registering the obituaries of casualties of the Northern Ireland Troubles raise the tension and gradually become pertinent to the story and the conflicts between the colonists and the summer interlopers, the artist and a linguist studying their original Irish language. The book ends more sadly for the colonists than for the intruders underlining the rift of imperialistic forages of any kind. Highly recommended.
For an in depth review, read https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5498525-fionnuala
… (mais)
featherbooks | outras 21 resenhas | May 7, 2024 |
We're in Ireland in 1979, on a small, sparsely populated and isolated island, whose inhabitants have only recently started to learn and use English. Two visitors come to spend their summers there. Mr. Lloyd is a painter who wants to explore the landscape. He's rude and entitled, but interesting to young islander James who has ambitions to go to art school. Masson, known as JP, is a French academic, keen to preserve and promote the Irish language, whether the inhabitants want it or not. Each chapter is interspersed with a terse newspaper-like account of a sectarian murder on the mainland, whether of a Catholic or a Protestant. At first these almost seem an irrelevance. Gradually, the penny drops that these incidents are deeply rooted in the history of the English towards their Irish 'colony', and do much to explain the largely hostile feelings both of the islanders and its two visitors. The book paints a picture of an island in many ways left behind, whose characters still struggle to find their place in the world, as indeed do the two visitors. A book to provoke thought long after the last page has been turned.… (mais)
Margaret09 | outras 21 resenhas | Apr 15, 2024 |
A brilliantly written, absorbing story that takes place over a few months on a remote and tiny Irish-speaking island in 1979, an island on the cusp of being unable to exist as it traditionally has, an island that hosts at this moment in time two foreigners of great ego and opposing viewpoints that are equally shaped by histories of colonialism.

In 1979 the majority of the island of Ireland had been independent from Britain for decades, yet the legacy of colonialism of course loomed large. It was a mostly poor and agricultural country; the part of the island that had been industrialized lay in the north, still retained by the British, and the site of a brutal violence of the sort following on from a past colonial project. Irish was the language of the poorest, most rural, most traditional of the nation’s citizens, those out on its western edges. Those farthest from Britain. Those whom the colonization project had least touched. The majority of the country now spoke English, and to have new opportunities, one needs speak that language.

Life on the small Irish-speaking western islands was particularly hard and over the years a number became uninhabited as the Irish government relocated their residents to the mainland, perhaps most famously (thanks to books like [b:The Islandman|684871|The Islandman|Tomas O'Crohan|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1347713179l/684871._SY75_.jpg|671254]) those on the Blasket Islands in the 1950s. Those islands that remained inhabited would come to be big tourist draws and see themselves transformed in many ways by the tourism industry, most famously the Aran Islands.

The island serving as the setting for The Colony has had neither event happen to it yet. It maintains a population of under 100 hardy and mostly older people and apart from one repeat French visitor who comes with an academic interest has no tourism. The Frenchman, JP, is researching the state of the Irish language and, influenced by the legacy of French colonialism in his own familial background, seems driven by an outsized need to see the Irish language preserved here. However he’s even more driven by a desire for attention and fame in “discovering” this outpost of a dying European language, and the result of his publicity would be the tourism that would destroy such as existence. He would, despite his protestations, be the colonizer taking advantage of the colonized.

And now comes an Englishman, an artist who despite whatever stereotypes there may be about artists as locus of opposition to imperialism and power embodies the stereotype of the benevolent colonizer, all the way up to cluelessly protesting about “all we’ve done for this place!”. Mr. Lloyd comes to paint the cliffs, which naturally are wilder and more savage than English ones, but ends up turning his gaze on the islanders as Gauguin turned his gaze on the Tahitians. Mr. Lloyd, unlike the Frenchman, puts up little front of being interested in the life and identity of the colonized and unselfconsciously exploits them.

But even more interesting than the stories of these two men are the stories and characters of the islanders that host them. Mairéad lost her husband to a fisherman’s drowning death and has a complex attitude towards questions of the island vs the rest of the world, the Irish language vs the English. Her mother and grandmother however are strongly committed to their language and way of life. Then there’s her son James/Seamus, whose very name is a struggle over post-colonization identity, who is a bilingual speaking teenager, who wants the opportunities of life off the island and might find a way out through his hitherto unknown artistic abilities if Mr. Lloyd can be trusted.
I don’t want one of your jumpers, Mam. Those drowning jumpers. Not for me, Mam. I won’t do it. I won’t be that fisherman. That tradition. That drowning tradition. He opened a fresh sheet of paper and drew in pencil, two rabbits, dead on the grass, three fishermen, dead on the seabed. Not for me, Mam, he said.

Meanwhile there’s Micheál who has a utilitarian attitude towards language and an entrepreneur’s orientation towards everything and everybody else (when tourism inevitably comes, if the island remains inhabited, he will thrive).

The characters frequently debate amongst themselves (in Irish and English) questions like the value of maintaining tradition versus seeking greater opportunity, and, informed by radio reports of “The Troubles”, questions of violence and colonial legacy.

He shouldn’t be here at all, Micheál. This island should be protected from English speakers.
Micheál laughed.
Like a museum, JP?
More a conservation project.
A zoo then?
An Irish-speaking island is a precious thing, Micheál.
You can’t lock people onto the island because they speak Irish, JP.
You can if it saves the language.
Nor can you keep other people off because they don’t speak Irish.
It’s your island. You can do what you want.

I found this novel fully and believably immersive and compelling. Great stuff.
… (mais)
lelandleslie | outras 21 resenhas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Excellent plot about how we have to confront our personal views for survival

Strong Irish island story, love the French/English strand, different storyline
ChrisGreenDog | outras 21 resenhas | Feb 11, 2024 |



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