It's more than four months old, but it's still worth reading...
Monday, February 1, 2010
Winterland by Alan Glynn
I was tempted to throw in an imaginary subtitle: The Lost Language of Cranes, but that was already taken. Anyone who visited Ireland four or five years ago, as I did, could not have failed to get the reference. There were cranes everywhere--new schemes, new money, even all new people (another stolen literary reference). Attractive young Irish people flocked the streets in expensive new clothes--never have I felt so old and past the moment--and the small hotels and bars and pretty much everywhere were staffed by Asians and Eastern Europeans, most of whom did not seem at all happy.
That moment, for better or worse, is done--at least for the time being. Capital, and labor, has come and fled again, as it has so many other places. This is the setting of Alan Glynn's excellent new novel Winterland.
The initial setup is this: a young thug, Noel Rafferty, is murdered at a local pub. As he is revealed from the outset to be a very unpleasant character, we do not mourn him much. But his tightly knit Dublin family does, of course, and their grief is more than doubled when his uncle, his namesake, dies in a car accident that very night. Tragic coincidence, yes, but their common relative Gina Rafferty begins to doubt that all is exactly as it seems. Gina's company, a start-up, is having troubles in the new economic climate. And it's not the only thing that's suffering in the fallout of global recession.
I love the way the local and the global overlap and affect each other in this novel. I also love the acute depiction of the way government and business and law enforcement are all in each other's pockets. Gina Rafferty is a great and fearless character in this setting. Here's hoping we hear a bit more from her in the future.