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I have read (after finishing the audio of this book) that the events within are set around the Irish Troubles of the '70s. That is not specifically mentioned in the book and not something I realized or picked up on.
The story is set in a troubled time where rumour, interpretation, contacts and the ability to fit in (or not) sets the tone of a life, how the person is accepted or fits into "the group". One needs to say the right things, go to the right places, have the right quirks & habits. If not, one is ostracized from one's neighbours & society. A misfit. A misfit will be shunned by all, made to feel an outcast & unwanted. It's a game changer.
This story could be set in any time and place where control of the people is a mainstay of Society. Good writing. The narration by Brid Brennan is superb.
A brilliant book in an oral style maybe best savoured as an audiobook.
Listen to Ulster actress Brid Brennan as the unnamed young woman living through The Troubles and the narrative's specificity as much its eccentricities come alive. So much so I had to listen closely to follow some of its deep dives into local expressions and slang ("now" becomes "noy"). Brennan performs the text with seemingly breathless compulsion, capturing the narrator's careening wit even as she details the unending oppression of a culture forged on hearsay, innuendo, association, denunciation and above all segregation into black and white divides of us and them. She voices the book's cadences and rhythms, capturing its hilarious repetitions and absurdly erudite digressions in compulsive rushes. Comparisons with Beckett abound.
About Then and There for sure, but absolutely about "noy" as well.