Ticket to Exile: A Memoir
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But Beckett, indeed, would not go away.
Miller, Adam David 1922-
We rarely saw him in the flesh. Beckett lived on the rue St. I walked up and down that street several times, hoping for a glimpse. Unlike Durcan, I would be only too glad to meet the master. If I was going through St. Jacques on the metro I always scoured both platforms.
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I stopped and stared at the one word BECKETT on his letterbox, and when a novel of mine was published, lacking the courage to contact him face to face, I slipped it into a brown envelope and dropped it into his letterbox. Richard Kearney, now Professor of Philosophy at UCD, Ann Bernard, his wife, and, later, one of the first winners of the European Translation Prize, were at that time a focal point in our dissolute lives.
Richard contributed to many influential reviews, Esprit among them, and seemed to me to have a wide personal acquaintance with Parisian intellectuals and writers. He always seemed to be busy with typing or proofs. Both he and Ann managed to be hospitable with their tiny two-room apartment, strategically located behind St. He was a striking-looking figure: long, halo-like white hair, a strong, weak-eyed face and stage presence written all over him.
I met him several times in the company of his girlfriend, Katherine Holmquist. They were squatting in an apartment on a street behind the Bastille.
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They were poor, of course. We were all poor. I introduced him to a scam which might be of some interest to a Japanese audience. Since there was, and is, such a demand for Louis Vuitton bags among the Asian bourgeoisie, there was a need for prototypes of the latest models in order to manufacture fakes in Taiwanese and Hong Kong sweatshops.
The Louis Vuitton shop staff was aware of the scam and screened their customers carefully. For each bag successfully bought we received francs. It was good easy money if you passed muster. Afterwards we usually went to eat. He was interested then in knocking on its head conventional Irish theatre.
Mime, dance, conceptual tableaux and techniques taken from the music hall and the circus were the weapons he was going to employ. At that time, the Calk Hook Dance Theatre was working towards a performance of his play Doobally Black Way , which premiered at a festival of dance and drama in Paris.
Few of us could put our fingers on what it was about: all admitted it was visually arresting and challenging. Its roots seemed to be in Dada and it drew somewhat from the happenings, which were in vogue in the Sixties and Seventies. The Great Hunger dramatisation was one of the major theatre successes of the Eighties, playing in the Abbey Theatre, the Edinburgh Theatre Festival and in the pre-break-up Soviet Union.follow site
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We lived in a multi-faceted intellectual climate. If there is such a thing as cultural Zeitgeist, and if it is distinct from fashion, then our clique of exiles was characterised by collapsed Catholicism shored up by Left Bank enthusiasms. It is interesting to look back on this Zeitgeist in the light of the liberal direction which Ireland has taken since. Though there were glimmers of that liberal direction then, it was by no means taken for granted. They would have none of it, of course: the closely reasoned discourse had been employed against them all too often before.
The irony of exile is that within a short span of time — 70 years — it is possible to overturn the premises of that exile, to the point where one questions the validity of the term. Perhaps it has a shelf life. It is surprising, though, that Miller does not seem to spend as much time condemning a judicial system and society at large that would arrest, jail, and exile a man for passing a woman a note, as he does articulating the rejection he believes his action might evoke amongst black women.
This memoir adds to an already impressive list of literary contributions, as the author offered dialogues during the Black Arts Movement and published one of the seminal poetry anthologies of the early s, Dices and Black Bones: Black Voices of the Seventies. October 9, Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer.
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No fee was paid by the author for this review. Terry Kelly was born in and still lives in Toronto. Richard Teleky of Toronto is a professor in the Humanities Department of York University, and a critically acclaimed fiction writer, poet and critic.
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