R.I.P. John McGahern

Irish novelist John McGahern, 71, died today in Dublin after a long struggle with cancer. As the Guardian obituary says, his “semi- autobiographical portraits of rural life in Ireland won him great praise in his home country and beyond.” (Thanks for alerting me to the sad news, Laurie.)

In 2002, Robert McCrum asked McGahern about a passage in his novel Amongst Women.

McCrum: “He felt this must be happiness. As soon as the thought came to him he fought it back, blaming the whiskey. The very idea was as dangerous as presumptive speech. Happiness could not be sought or worried into being, or even fully grasped. It should be allowed its own slow pace so that it passes unnoticed if it ever comes at all.” Is that your view?

McGahern: That’s exactly it. I think that complete happiness isn’t possible in life and when it happens it’s not noticed….

The Boston Globe profiled McGahern earlier this month. (Last link via TEV.)


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