On August 22, 1922, near Macroom, County Cork, a single bullet from an unknown gunman killed Michael Collins, the Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Free State Army. The day Collins was buried, businesses across Dublin shut down as thousands lined the streets to pay their respects. And on that day, Michael Lyons, a cooper from the Guinness factory taking advantage of the day off, drowned quietly in Dublin's Royal Canal.
In Ireland's Eye, Mark Anthony Jarman uses this confluence -- a famous death and an obscure death -- as the starting point for a meditation on the intertwined history of a nation and his pursuit of the circumstances of his grandfather's drowning.
Thwarted by family gossip, aunts who can't drive shift, cousins more interested in pubs than lore, and his own fascination with the many Irelands that have been, Jarman finds what he's seeking despite, or perhaps because of, the antics and the unreliable histories. What he reconfigures is a revelation, and an enchanting and engrossing read.
Mark Anthony Jarman is the author of My White Planet, 19 Knives, New Orleans Is Sinking, Dancing Nightly in the Tavern, and the travel book Ireland’s Eye. His hockey novel, Salvage King Ya!, is on Amazon.ca’s list of 50 Essential Canadian Books. He now teaches at the University of New Brunswick, where he is fiction editor of The Fiddlehead.