NEW BOOK: Narratives of the Unspoken in Contemporary Irish Fiction

edited by M. Teresa Caneda-Cabrera and José Carregal- Romero

New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature series of Palgrave Macmillan 

This Open access book is a collection of essays and offers an in-depth analysis of silence as an aesthetic practice and a textual strategy which paradoxically speaks of the unspoken nature of many inconvenient hidden truths of Irish society in the work of contemporary fiction writers. The study acknowledges Ireland’s history of damaging silences and considers its legacies, but it also underscores how silence can serve as a valuable, even productive, means of expression. From a wide range of critical perspectives, the individual essays address, among other issues, the conspiracies of silence in Catholic Ireland, the silenced structural oppression of Celtic Tiger Ireland, the recovery of silenced stories/voices of the past and their examination in the present, as well as millennial disaffection and the silencing of vulnerability in today’s neoliberal Ireland. The book ’s attention to silence provides a rich vocabulary for understanding what unfolds in the quiet interstices of Irish writing from recent decades. This study also invokes the past to understand the present and, thus, demonstrates the continuities and discontinuities that define how silence operates in Irish culture.

Available  on

Praise for the book: 

Narratives of the Unspoken in Contemporary Irish Fiction is part of an exciting new turn in literary studies towards what is not said.  With essays on authors such as Colm Tóibín, Emma Donoghue and Sally Rooney, the volume excavates awkward, hidden truths of Irish society.  An array of critical approaches enhances our understanding of how to register, and respond, to silences”.   

Kate McLoughlin, Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford, UK  

“Original and thoroughly engaged, Narratives of the Unspoken in Contemporary Irish Fiction illustrates some of the many ways silence has been registered in recent decades in Irish literature. The subjects discussed are brilliantly diverse, and each of the essays is attentive to the various – and often conflicting – ways that silence can be heard or made to speak. A timely, compelling collection”.  

Paul Delaney, Associate Professor, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland