Robert McLiam Wilson was born in Belfast in 1964 and that is all the biographical information the flyleaf offers. But what it really means to be a Belfast boy, both in the sixties and now, is vividly captured within its pages.
Eureka Street is set in the troubled city during the fragile cease-fires of the late 1990s. It's the story of Chuckie Lurgan, a poor, fat, Protestant boy whose life lurches from monotony into a fairy tale after his 30th birthday. Love suddenly comes in the shape of Max, an American girl whose diplomat father was killed within minutes of setting foot on Belfast soil; and money comes in the guise of a Government business loan. Good fortune almost comes via the scams of ready-to-wear Balaklava shops and leprechaun walking sticks, a running joke taken seriously by the rest of the world. Chuckie is Belfast--a mismatched dream; a battle to make something from nothing; a charmer with feet of clay.
Jake Jackson is his opposite--hard, Catholic and looking for the love that Chuckie seems to attract without trying. A realist among the bombs and roadblocks, Jake still has a poet's voice, passionate about his city- -"the air is full of regret and desire. You should stand some night on Cable Street, letting the little wind pluck your flesh ... the city will stick to your fingers like Sellotape."
This is a blissful bruiser of a book, with humour and affection drawing the painfully acute portraits together. "Chuckie's mother was a big woman, built historical, like a ship or a city
since he had been 14 years old, he had lived in quiet dread of his mother making her mark." Addictive, triumphant, sharp, sad and witty--it's no wonder that the BBC snapped this up for a series. --Elizabeth McGregor
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Stylish, funny, black and memorable" (Irish Times
"Shocking and reassuring, visceral and alive with the majesty and mystery of the city, Eureka Street
cements Wilson's reputation as one of the best writers around" (Time Out
"A novel of ambitious scope and compelling power; it marks a new level of accomplishment in an already formidable writer" (Times Literary Supplement
"What is most striking is McLiam Wilson's range: tragedy, comedy, realism, absurdism and refreshing political insight. I am staggered by McLiam Wilson's scope" (The Times
"A sane, moving and often very funny satire directed against the establishment of terror. In the face of arbitrary, violent death and genocidal conflict, Wilson celebrates humanity...he offers us no solutions, but shows us our best and our worst with a redemptive tenderness and common sense" (Scotsman