The Strangers' House: Writing Northern Ireland, by Alexander Poots
A penetrating study and celebration of Northern Irish literature - telling the region’s story through the extraordinary novels and poetry produced by decades of conflict.
Northern Ireland is one hundred years old. Northern Ireland does not exist. Both of these statements are true. It just depends on who you ask. How do you write about a place like this? The Strangers' House asks this question of the region’s greatest writers, living and dead. What have they made of Northern Ireland – and what has Northern Ireland made of them?
Northern Ireland has produced an extraordinary number of celebrated poets and novelists. Louis MacNeice, too clever to be happy, formed by his childhood on the shores of Belfast Lough. C. S. Lewis, who discovered Narnia in the rolling drumlins and black rock of County Down and Seamus Heaney, the man of wry precision, the poet with the gift of surprise.
The Strangers' House is the story of how men and women have written about a home divided, and used their work to move, in the words of Seamus Heaney, “like a double agent among the big concepts.”
“A highly learned but lightly worn literary history of Northern Ireland that reaches beyond books into political and cultural turmoil… An essential guide to contemporary Irish letters.” - Kirkus Reviews
“Poots demonstrates a masterful knowledge of Northern Irish authors and his prose is at turns funny and poetic…This powerfully evokes the beauty and complexity of Northern Ireland and announces Poots as an author to watch.” - Publishers Weekly