Navigating the Borderlands: Brian McGilloway as Contemporary Cartographer of the Liminal in the Ulster Landscape

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    Set in the borderlands between Letterkenny and Derry-Londonderry, a landscape scarred by geological fold, river and cartographer’s pen, the Ulster crime novelist Brian McGilloway chronicles the hopes and fears of a contemporary society unable to escape a complicated history, redolent and entwined with the voices of its ‘ghosts of its past.’ Through his choice of chief protagonist, An Garda Síochána officer Benedict Devlin, McGilloway turns detective to critically investigate the both the seemingly straightforward and the unseen dwelling in the rural Ulster landscape. Following in the footsteps of Nordic and Tartan Noir in making commentary on current societ,y McGilloway recognises the importance of the past in trying to reach an understanding of the present. His critique however goes beyond criminal behaviour motivated primarily by politics or religion, allowing a deeper and more meaningful diagnosis of the ‘state of the nation’. Place, name and event become especially important in contextualising the liminality of McGilloway’s real rural border settings. In doing so, McGilloway continues in the rich tradition of Ulster poet such as Heaney, MacNiece, Muldoon and Hewitt in trying to rationalise the man-made amidst the elemental in the land of both the ‘Planter & The Gael.’ History, language, tradition and the sacral are all instruments of investigation in helping McGilloway present a revealing pathology and atlas of our times to his readers. Turning literary investigator, the author contends that there is much to learn from this physiography, not just for the borderlands region, but for the wider countryside and society beyond. Keywords Cultural Atlas, Crime Fiction, Place, Poetry, Rural.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2015
    EventInterdisciplinary Approaches to 'Setting the Scene': Representation of Rurality in Crime Fiction and Media Culture - Queen's University, Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
    Duration: 15 Jun 201516 Jun 2015

    Conference

    ConferenceInterdisciplinary Approaches to 'Setting the Scene': Representation of Rurality in Crime Fiction and Media Culture
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    CityBelfast
    Period15/06/201516/06/2015

    Keywords

    • Cultural Atlas, Crime Fiction, Place, Poetry, Rural.

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Navigating the Borderlands: Brian McGilloway as Contemporary Cartographer of the Liminal in the Ulster Landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    McAllister, K. (2015). Navigating the Borderlands: Brian McGilloway as Contemporary Cartographer of the Liminal in the Ulster Landscape. Paper presented at Interdisciplinary Approaches to 'Setting the Scene': Representation of Rurality in Crime Fiction and Media Culture, Belfast, United Kingdom. http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/InstituteforCollaborativeResearchintheHumanities/Filestore/Filetoupload,497787,en.pdf