Friday, 8 October 2021

What I'm reading: Dublin life in 1950s and 80s


Julian Ryder, 18 in 1983, gay and with literary aspirations, relocates to Dublin and gets a job as a barman in Dolly Considine’s hotel. Dolly is firmly involved in Irish politics, where the issue of the day is Abortion Law Reform. A parallel story in the 1950s provides the background to Dolly inheriting the hotel and struggling to keep herself afloat. Times are hard in both eras, especially for unmarried mothers, but despite endless money worries people seem always to have the price of a Guinness.

The author has set himself a challenge in this debut novel, juggling a large and vivid cast of characters through haphazard time shifts. His writing is invigor-ating, with occasional echoes of James Joyce and more than a few touches of ‘blarney’. There are some engagingly comic gay sex scenes, although one of them ends in fatality. An abortion scene makes for a tough read.

Eamon Somers is a member of my Gay Authors Workshop. He has published Dolly Considine’s Hotel through ‘crowd-funding’ with Unbound. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

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