Irish Novel of the Year 2013
This Is The Way by Gavin Corbett won the Irish Novel of the Year Prize at this year's Listowel Writers' Week. The 15,000 Euro prize is the largest one available to only Irish authors. I have been very interested in Irish Travellers since I first became aware of theirculture through reading the short stories of Desmond Hogan so when I read the glowing review by Kevin Barry on this book in The Guardian and learned it was told from the point of view of a young Traveller man hiding in the poor areas of Dublin from members of a rival clan, I knew I wanted to read it soon. The clan fight has been going on for generations.
Anthony has the blood of both clans, his mother was a Gillaroo and his father a member of the enemy clan, the Sonaghans. To make matters worse his half crazy uncle Arthur shows up, also on the run from something or other. He lost one of his thumbs in an accident and the doctors replaced it with one of his big toes.
The novel is told as a series of adventures, some plausible, some crazy and they are told in what I am assuming is a Traveller version of Hibernian- English dialect, which in this case, I really enjoyed.
Dublin is a strange place to Anthony and it is fun to discover it through his eyes. Anthony and Arthur have some contact with an academic woman doing oral histories which is an interesting side plot. One of the funniest parts of the books was when Anthony goes with Judith to a high end literary party.
I enjoyed this book a lot and I am very glad I read it. I really liked it when I found some important Traveller myths revolve around Lough Melvin.