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The Bastard Pleasure, by Seán McGrady

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The Bastard Pleasure, by Seán McGrady


The Bastard Pleasure, by Seán McGrady


Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Paperback: 350 pages
ISBN: 9781938103551
Trim: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5


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The Bastard Pleasure is a dark novel. It concerns itself with the mystery of identity and individuation, its destruction and the brutal way in which it is reclaimed in an emerging act of intuitive will and self-affirmation, that is both obligated and free, in the circumstances, to be either good or evil - more plainly, it is about terrorism, in its concrete and seemingly incomprehensible forms, that eminently reveals existential “border situations” in ambiguity and contradiction.


“The universe of Seán McGrady’s fiction may be bleak, but its language is magical: “I saw it was another dirty Belfast dusk with nothing by way of a pleasant sensation to entice the soul outside.” “The time of tension, a brute of a time, a reminder of a particular extension, urging intuitions and direction, the time I loathed was always the time that came too quickly.” One can hear in his prose the music of his homeland’s literary ancestors, but no one I know writing today can bend a concept to the point of palpability like he does. The Bastard Pleasure is Belfast noir at its mad, lyrical, metaphysical best.” —Tom Whalen

"McGrady's pitch-black coming-of-age story picks up where his debut, The Backslider, left off: Belfast, during the early 1970s; a time of fear and violence, but also, it would seem from this meticulously chronicled account, of precarious hope and occasional hilarity. For his narrator, seventeen year-old Seamus McGladdery, it is a time of self-discovery. What kind of man is he going to be, and on which side—that of the 'fly Provo boys' who rule the streets, or that of his Protestant forebears—will he take a stand? 'Black Belfast' has seldom been more sharply realized, in taut, visceral prose whose Beckettian cadences are relieved by flashes of humour. Unflinching in its depiction of a deeply troubled era in Ireland's history, The Bastard Pleasure is no easy read, but it is a rewarding one, full of thought-provoking insights and incidental pleasures." —Christina Koning

About Seán McGrady


Seán McGrady is the author of the novels The Backslider and The Bastard Pleasure. He was raised in Belfast, immersed in the religious and political ideas that defined the Irish Troubles. A former university lecturer in philosophy, he lives in York, England.