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The author chronicles the duel imprisonment of both his grandfathers during World War II--his Irish grandfather, an IRA fighter, and his Turkish grandfather, a British hotelier imprisoned in Palestine as suspected Axis spy.
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Joseph O'Neill was born in Cork in 1964 and is the author of two novels, The Breezes and This is the Life. A barrister, he lives with his wife and son in New York and London.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From the prologue:
At some point in my childhood, perhaps when I was aged ten, or eleven, I became aware that during the Second World War my Turkish grandfather—my mother’s father, Joseph Dakad—had been imprisoned by the British in Palestine, a place exotically absent from any atlas. A shiver of an explanation accompanied this information: the detention had something to do with spying for the Germans. At around the same age, I also learned my Irish grandfather, James O’Neill, had been jailed by the authorities in Ireland in the course of the same war. Nobody explained precisely why, or where, or for how long, and I attributed his incarceration to the circumstances of a bygone Ireland and a bygone IRA. These matters went largely unmentioned, and certainly undiscussed, by my parents in the two decades that followed. Indeed, the subject of my late grandfather was barely raised at all, and, save for a wedding-day picture of Joseph and his wife, Georgette, there were no photographs of them displayed in our home. Dwelling in the jurisdiction of parental silence, my grandfathers remained mute and out of mind.
Partially as a consequence of this, it was not until I was thirty that the curious parallelism my grandfathers’ lives struck me with any force and that I was driven to explore it, to fiddle at doors that had remained unopened, perhaps even locked, for so many years; and not until then that I began to make out what connected these two men, who never met, and these two captivities— one in Levant heat, the other in the rainy, sporadically incandescent plains of central Ireland.
As soon will become apparent, I wasn’t bringing a reflective political mind to bear on my grandfathers’ lives, or any expertise as a historian, or even any abnormal inclination to wonder about what might lie behind a closed door. In general, I’m as content as the next man to proceed on the footing that any information of importance—anything that has a bearing on my essential interests—will be brought to my attention by those entrusted with such things: families, schools, news agencies, subversives. This is so even though the information I have on most historical and political subjects could be written out on a luggage tag; is almost certainly wrong; and, at bottom, probably functions as a political soporific—which perhaps explains why the insights I gained into my grandfathers’ lives often took the form of a slow, idiotic awakening. It took anomalous forces—a writer’s professional curiosity turned into something like an obsession—to push me, reluctant and red-eyed and stumbling, into the past and, and, it turned out, its dream-bright horrors.
To inklings set me on my way, one for each grandfather.
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Book Description Granta Books, London, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. A new hardcover book complete with dust jacket. Seller Inventory # 009477
Book Description Granta Books, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1862072884
Book Description Granta Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1862072884
Book Description Granta Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111862072884
Book Description Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # SUN -44
Book Description Granta Books. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1862072884 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0788095
Book Description Granta Books, London, United Kingdom, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First UK Printing. This is a true first edition, first printing (first impression) with the number "1" to the copyright page to indicate a true first print in a as new jacket. Uncommon first printing especially signed. This copy is SIGNED and DATED by the Author.[Joseph O'Neill, New York City, July 31st, 2008]. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 004302