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Lámh, Lámh Eile

By Alan Titley, Cló Iar-Chonnacht

Tagairt: 9781784441807  

‘Ar ghearrliosta Ghradam Love Leabhar Gaeilge sna An Post Irish Book Awards, 2018.

 

An t-atmaisféar ar fheabhas. Trua faoin aimsir.’ 

Met Éireann.

 

‘Níos mó bréaga ann ná in aon tuarsacáil oifigiúil’ 

Breitheamh Ardchúirte gan ainm.

 

‘Nochtadh iontach ar fhir is ar mhná na hÉireann.’

Stoirmí Ní Dhomhnaill

Úrscéal cruabhruite bleachtaireachta. Baineann le hÉirinn na linne, go deimhin ní hea amháin le tír na hÉireann ach le hoileán na hÉireann féin. Ní tharlaíonn aon eachtra ar na hoileáin taobh amuigh den chósta ach tá eachtraí anseo atá suite i mBaile Átha Cliath, i mBéal Feirste, i gCill Chainnigh, i gContae na Mí, i gCorcaigh, i nGaillimh, i nDoire Cholm Cille agus in áiteanna eile idir eatarthu.

Is é atá sa bhunscéal ná cé leis na lámha? Tagann bean tincéara, nó den lucht siúil anois, go dtí an bleachtaire príobháideach Shamus ag iarraidh air cén duine nó dream a bhain an lámh dá fear céile, agus a bhfuil aici dó i dtaisce i  mbosca bróg. Is gairid go bhfaigheann Shamus amach go bhfuil lámha eile i gceist, lámha a bhaineann le hiarmhairt an chogaidh i dTuaisceart na hÉireann.

Ní foláir dár mbleachtaire an scéal a thaighdeadh siar go bun. Is léir ceangal éigin, dá dhiamhaire é, a bheith idir na lámha a teascadh ó dheas agus ó thuaidh. Is é sin a thugann air camchuaird na tíre a thabhairt ag lorg na fianaise atá uaidh.

Tá an uile rud anseo, bleachtairí ar cuma leo, Gardaí a bhfuil a bpraghas acu (b’fhéidir), Rúisigh le hiomad airgid, lucht siúil barbartha agus béasach, iománaithe ar an gclaí, mná an leanna a thuigeann agus nach dtuigeann, ach thar aon rud eile, léargas ar an taobh sin de shaol na nÉireann nach bhfeictear ach sna cinnlínte.

Ina theannta sin, áfach, tá gearrachaint agus greannchaint agus gráinchaint ar dual don saghas seo litríochta í. Dúirt léitheoir amháin gurb é an t-úrscéal Gaeilge is greannmhaire ó An Béal Bocht é.

Praghas: €12.00 Praghas Anois: €9.60

Léirmheas

Brian Ó Conchubhair, Leabhar na Bliana 2018, Comhar, Nollaig, 2018.

Sliocht as alt le Brian Ó Conchubhair, Comhar, Nollaig 2018:

Leabhar a mbeifear ag trácht air go ceann i bhfad é 'Lámh, Lámh Eile', úrscéal nua Alan Titley. Tá seal ó thug Titley faoi úrscéal comhaimseartha ach seo é agus is tour de force é den tsainstíl Titlíoch.

Leabhair idir lámha, Cathal Póirtéir, Books Ireland, Bealtaine/Meitheamh 2019

Alan Titley is one of the most prolific writers in Ireland with an impressive output in both English and Irish: a column in 'The Irish Times; volumes of criticism and literary journalism; academic monographs; plays for radio and stage; a poetry collection; short-form fiction, novels and a novel in verse. some of his work is erious in its intent and challenging in linguistic richness and style, but he can also write in a humorous way that few other writers can manage. If you have enjoyed Titley's madcap writings, surreal plots and ludic wordplay, then 'Lámh, Lámh Eile' will have you stitches.

The main character is a private detective, retired from the Gardaí. A client arrives with a box containing her husband's severed hand and wants the detective to find him. His investigation leads him to discover another hand, a couple of legs and a head - none of them belonging to the owner of the first hand. As our sleuth chases clues around Ireland, it gives Titley an opportunity to deliver digs at many places and people, to create larger-and-life characters and caricatures, and cast a jaundiced eye on Irish society.

The cover, the narrative style and the plot frame the story within the crime genre popularised by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. This Shamus, however, is a comic Irish Sam Spade, who gets in as many digs, puns and literary references as he can. There is a hardly a sentence that doesn't prompt a smile, a laugh or a wince. I met one reader who told me his family were worried as he roared with laughter in his armchair, but another person was put off by the deliberate political incorrectness.

For me, some of the punning, surreal, comic writing is very, very funny, while carrying enough literary allusions to make me feel clever when I pick up on them. But, with a wisecrack on almost every line, a reader may not always want Sam to wordplay it again. My daughter tells me that my own puns are best served in small doses. Happily, most readers are unlikely to read 'Lámh, Lámh eile' in one sitting and won't get too punchline drunk. If anyone is under the illusion that contemporary writing in Irish lacks a sense of fun since Myles na gCopaleen, Titley's novel proves them wrong. It might point new fans to his 'Eireachtai agus Scéalta Eile' or 'Leabhar Nóra Ní Anluain' or to that other comic crime odyssey that riffs on the 'Da Vinci Code', 'Rún an Bhonnáin' by Proinsias Mac an Bhaird.