Monday, May 18, 2020

the last book I ever read (Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, excerpt one)

from Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe:

A small man with wire-framed glasses and fingertips stained yellow by tobacco, Albert told violent tales about the fabled valor of long-dead patriots. Dolours had two other siblings, Damian and Clare, but she was closest with her younger sister, Marian. Before bedtime, their father liked to regale them with the story of the time he escaped from a jail in the city of Derry, along with twenty other prisoners, after digging a tunnel that led right out of the facility. One inmate played the bagpipes to cover the sound of the escape.

In confiding tones, Albert would lecture Dolours and her siblings about the safest method for mixing improvised explosives, with a wooden bowl and wooden utensils—never metal!—because “a single spark and you were gone.” He liked to reminisce about beloved comrades whom the Brirish had hanged, and Dolours grew up thinking that this was the most natural thing in the world: that ever child had parents who had friends who’d been hanged. Her father’s stories were so rousing that she shivered sometimes when she listened to them, her whole body tingling with goose bumps.

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