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Strumpet City Hardcover – 1 Apr 1969
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'Many studies have been written about the quest for the Great American Novel. Anyone seeking its Irish equivalent need search no further.' --Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
'If there is one novel that bares the soul of Dublin as much as the life-in-one-day of Ulysses, it is James Plunkett's Strumpet City' --Donal O'Donoghue RTE Guide. 30 March 2013
'Dublin City Libraries has chosen the masterpiece as its One City, One Book for 2013. Epic.' --Joe Duffy The Irish Mail on Sunday 24 March 2013 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
The late James Plunkett drew on his city centre working-class background, and his commitment to the labour movement, as the background for his fiction. Strumpet City is acknowledged as his masterpiece. His other novels include Farewell Companions and The Circus Animals. He was an accomplished short story writer and also wrote for radio and for the theatre. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, this is the first book I have ever just reached halfway through and thrown down in pure frustrated boredom. My enjoyable commute was becoming dreaded as I knew I'd have to endure 35 minutes of pure boredom trudging through this beast of a dull book.
My goodness! What shallow characters and what an uninteresting story! I'm sure the Irish depression was indeed interesting but Plunkett drags on each scene with endless droning conversation and unnecessary detail. With a good book, I always find myself looking up words that I've come across for the first time - delighted with their meanings and how the author has used them. That didn't happen once with this book - it just wasn't very eloquent for the amount of detail that was used which is disappointing.
So congratulations Strumpet City for being the first book that I couldn't physically finish. I am now off to figure out who on earth recommended it to me!
From the opening paragraph, the reader is in the hands of a master storyteller, who knows, and loves, his subject - Dublin - intimately. The years running up to the seminal 1913 Dublin Lock-Out are vividly drawn, and nothing is spared in portraying the polarization that was to emerge between employer and worker.
The characters are all skillfully drawn, with Rashers Tierney one of the best-loved in Irish writing (who suffers a dreadful fate - remember, no harsh reality around the poverty of the time is held back).
But it's not a miserable book - far from it. Read it to get an insight into the start of a troublesome decade, and to lose yourself in the hands of a master storyteller ......
You won't regret it.
Plunkett's brilliant description of a city torn apart by class,income and poitics is far more arresting than Joyce.Historically accurate descriptions of the poverty and humanity of the Dublin working class during the lock out of 1913 are the back bone of the novel,with it's various great characthers-James Larkin above all,but also Rashers and the Catholic priests who follow the rich rather than Jesus.The description of children going to England to stay with allies of the strikers being forcibly taken away by Catholic fanatics is one of the most powerful I've read in any fiction.
The RTE TV series (available on DVD)is almost as good and is largely faithful to the novel.Both highly recommended.
Plunkett describes without emotion the struggle of a young foundryman to help others, even at the cost to his own young family. He brings alive the great champion of the Irish working class, Big Jim Larkin, founder of the Irish transport union, as well as the unsung heroes who suffered for their cause.
I found myself loathing the cold-hearted Catholic curate who despised the poor people of his parish although he'd elected to work amongst them. Father O Connor was typical of a certain mindset that held the poor responsible for their own miserable condition, telling them their religion was more important than their hunger. He was more comfortable among the well-off of Irish society with their barely concealed contempt for the "lower orders".
"Strumpet City" ranks equal with Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" as a story of the common humanity and generosity of the poorest of the poor. Surprisingly, the RTE video of the story remains true to the spirit of the novel; it's well worth seeing.
Most recent customer reviews
Brilliant. Very enjoyable and informative and gives plenty of food for thought to an Irish person. Particularly taken the knowledge of 1916 into the picturePublished 6 months ago by SurfaceSurfer
One of my favourite books. I have read it several times since it was first published. Every time I read it the characters come alive once again.Published 7 months ago by Aido
I read this book and watched the RTE series many years ago. Reading it again after all these years it still felt very relevant to what is happening today. Read morePublished 9 months ago by max
Amazing book. Gives you a real feel for Dublin of the time.Published 12 months ago by Gareth Stenson
You think you are reading a novel (and you are) but wtihout realising it you are reading history - the start of the union movement in Ireland.Published 16 months ago by Lucy Apple
Great book although sad. Opens your eyes to how people lived around the early 20th century in Ireland.Published 18 months ago by SNasa