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Call Mother a Lonely Field

Call Mother a Lonely Field

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Shortlisted for the £10,000 RSL Ondaatje Prize for 2013.

Call Mother a Lonely Field is a warm but powerful first-hand account of an Irish-speaking family living through the worst of the Troubles in 1970s Belfast.

Liam Carson’s story explores the tensions of family, home and language – his attempts to break their tethers, and the refuge he finds within them. His West Belfast childhood is captured through the various lenses of dystopian science fiction, punk rock, American comic books, and the still-present echoes of World War II. After years in London and Dublin, the deaths of his parents bring Carson back to Belfast, where he begins to heal his fractured relationship with Northern Ireland and the Irish language. The result is a revealing piece of memoir, by an author constantly drawn to the potency of vanishing worlds: of childhood, of the city, of home.

"The touching description of his dying mother and then the loss of his father will draw a tear from the most hardened of readers."
We Love This Book

"Described as more than a memoir, this book almost feels like a confession at times due to its searing honesty. Call Mother a Lonely Field explores the confines of family but also the refuge it provides. Literally speaking a different language to his parents, Carson examines the relationship he had with his Irish-speaking parents in a time when speaking Irish was not advisable due to the violence around every corner in 1970s Belfast. Beautifully written, Carson's rediscovery of the Irish language following the death of his parents is truly moving."
The Irish World

“Liam’s story is one of setting out and return... Like Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People, this memoir is a must-read.”
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Liam Carson was born in 1962 in Belfast. He is currently the director of the IMRAM Irish Language and Literature Festival, which he founded in 2004. His reviews, criticism and poems have appeared in a wide range of periodicals, including Poetry Ireland Review, Fortnight, the Irish Review, the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Tribune.