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Clare Boylan Biography

(1948– ), Holy Pictures, Last Resorts, Black Baby, Home Rule, A Nail on the Head, Concerning Virgins

dublin novel childhood pictures

Irish novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, born in Dublin. Her first novel, Holy Pictures (1983), is a powerfully evocative, tragicomic child's-eye view of Dublin life in the 1920s. This was followed by Last Resorts (1984), a novel describing the erotic adventures of Harriet, mother of three teenage children, on a Greek holiday island; and Black Baby (1988), a comic novel about a child sold to a woman by nuns. Home Rule (1992), a prequel to Holy Pictures, observes the Devlin family's turn-of-the-century battles against poverty, its humour leavened by a wry lament for the plight of Irish wives. Boylan's prose is fresh, poetic, and colourful, rich in apt and startling similes; she has a particular gift for recalling the vivid impressions, physical sensations, and misunderstandings of childhood, coupled with a reckless panache when describing adult affairs and amorous misadventures. Her volumes of short stories include A Nail on the Head (1983), Concerning Virgins (1989), and That Bad Woman (1995). She contributed an autobiographical sketch of her middle-class Dublin childhood to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl (1986, ed. John Quinn). Boylan is the editor of The Agony and the Ego: The Art and Strategy of Fiction Writing (1993), and of The Literary Companion to Cats (1995).

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