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The Valparaiso Voyage Paperback – 1 Jul 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006552374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006552376
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘No Irish novelist since McGahern has been so obsessed with the poetics of love, death and sex. No Irish novelist has so brilliantly captured the suburban underbelly of the city, the crazy unofficial lives.’ Colm Toibin

‘Joyce, O’Flaherty, Brian Moore, a fistful of O’Briens, this is a succulent Who’s Who of Irish writing, and Dermot Bolger is of the same ilk. An exceptional literary gift.’ Independent

‘Bolger’s writing is so strong, so exact, so much the right colour for each moment. Bare and passionate.’ Financial Times

From the Back Cover

Praise for Dermot Bolger

'Temptation'

'A beautifully understated novel whose portrait of a self-doubting woman is handled with rare and sensitive perspicacity.'
DAILY MAIL

'Father's Music'

'Everything of the alienated urban underbelly is here, in a potent brew. Dermot Bolger creates a Dublin, a particular world like no one else writing can.'
SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

'Emily's Shoes'

'Triumphantly successful – bare and passionate.'
FINANCIAL TIMES

'The Woman's Daughter'

'One of the essential Irish novels, certainly of the decade, and possibly of many another.'
SUNDAY TRIBUNE

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alison Lynch on 11 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Ten years after faking his own death and wandering around Europe, Brendan Brogan returns home to Ireland to avenge his fathers death and protect his own son from subsequent imminent danger. His return brings him to Navan, his first home, a town where at eight years of age he became a second class citizen to his step brother. Banished to an out house and deprived of the love of his father Brendan has grown up with an inferiority complex that has manifested itself in gambling and self destruction. He returns as a nobody, a dead man, but one that must ingratiate himself back into the lives of those he abandoned in order to save them from harm.
If his last book 'Temptation' was something of a departure for Dermot Bolger, then 'The Volparaiso Voyage' sees a resounding return to more familiar territory for this much-respected Irish writer. Back are the themes of political corruption, social alienation and the quest for personal identity of earlier works. Indeed some of his more recent works have read like a compilation of all these issues. But while Bolger does return to certain subjects it is never to write the same story twice but rather more so to update the changing social climate of the contemporary Ireland he finds around him.
Here, through his characters he explores issues as diverse as political tribunals, racism towards refugees and for the first time, Dublin's thriving gay scene. As always, Bolger's approach is highly individualistic, taking a first person narrative to give a very personal voice to the story.
However, over its 385 pages there is a lot to take in, much swinging back and forth between the past and present, much explaining and linking together the various plots and subplots.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book reminded me of another Bolger title "The Journey Home". The themes of political corruption and a depiction of small town Ireland really hit the nail on the head. Having visited Navan on many occasions one gets the impression that the characters in Valparaiso Voyage still lurk somewhere in it's streets. Great stuff!
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Format: Kindle Edition
By far one of the best books I have ever Read, Dermot Bolger captures Dublin in the 90's, with its subliminal racism and homophobia unnervingly well.

I would highly recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Coddle is a Revolting Mess of an Irish Dish. Chowder's Nice. 28 Feb. 2005
By M. Halpin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dublin has been portrayed dirty old times. But Navan, County Meath? The Valparaiso Voyage is the only novel that I know of which explores that gateway town. It also explores the realities of political corruption- a topic, sadly, only too Irish and too true. The news in recent years has been filled with tribunals, while homes have been planted and promptly flooded on unsuitable lands that dodgy officials enriched themselves rezoning.

This examination of power in towns small and large was the novel's most interesting feature. Rather than the satisfying wish-fulfilment of revenge that most writers would offer, The Valparaiso Voyage explores what goes on within these men. What's their side of the story?

That theme is only one within The Valparaiso Voyage's breadth. It is a human story, aimed at the heart- family, love, immigration and racism, gambling, homosexuality, marriage. Like Bolger's earlier novel, Father's Music, a mystery keeps the pages turning.

I don't believe the pieces fuse so well, though. A boy living in a back-garden chicken coop? Like Augustus juggling skulls for relaxation in Carl Hiaasen's magnificent Stormy Weather, that's a great place for a character to start. But this Brendan Brogan did not convince me. His many issues, conflicts and passions felt like a coddle of random odds and ends. Irish pieces? Yes. I don't care how Dublin it is, though. I don't like coddle. Give me that perfect, natural blend seafood chowder from The Anglers' Rest, any day.

Two and a half stars.
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