Using as a case study Deirdre Madden's novel (1996) about a family struggling to deal with loss as a result of political violence during the Troubles, this article explores the contribution made by imaginative storytelling to the societal process of confict transformation in Northern Ireland. Drawing on the existing literary criticism addressing this novel, it considers the formal strategies deployed to explore personal experiences of victimhood in the context of a family-mediated social history of postwar Northern Ireland, and questions of temporality and conflict within family memory. It goes on to argue for a deeper, cultural reading that situates the novel in creative dialogue with discourses of victimhood and political constructions of memory during the conflict and in the early peace process. In this way the article makes a case for the potential transformative value of fiction in developing imaginative engagement with the stories of the other, and in promoting 'heteropathic identification' - a potential that depends on contexts of reading and the willingness of readers to enter imaginatively into the inner worlds of others.
|Title of host publication||Ireland and victims: confronting the past, forging the future|
|Editors||Lesley Lelourec, Gráinne O'Keeffe-Vigneron|
|Place of Publication||Oxford, UK|
|Publisher||Peter Lang AG|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2012|
© 2012 Peter Lang AG