Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Why are Nadine Doris’ novels filled with Irish cliches? | books
IIt’s hard not to wonder when reading Nadine Doris’ novels Newly appointed Minister of Culture She keeps a checklist of cliches about Irish by her side as she writes them. One character even says, “No one in their right mind had a bad word to say about potatoes.” Jesus, Mary and Joseph, says the hero of Doris. And in fact it does.
Another has “bright, sparkling blue eyes, the kind that can only come from Irish roots.” and the third “embodies all that everyone knows to be true of the Irish. He was as bold as brass, full of blarnaise and did not know the meaning of the word timid.” Men knock on Guinness (the 28th mention in The Four Streets, Dorries’ first book), while dreaming of “emerald green fields, or a girl with black hair, with eyes sparkling like diamonds,” and kicking each other on our heads. “It was the Irish way. Fists and boots first, words later.”
Jerry, the real Irishman mentioned in the previous paragraph, loses the plot when he sees the beautiful Bernadette, “with the long, untamed red hair”. Doris writes: “Oh, Mary, the Holy, he thought to himself, Where has my lint gone and why should I shake my hand like a virgin on her wedding night, spilling bleeding tea all over it?” Later, after Bernadette (spoiler alert) died in childbirth, he spoke with an English woman named Alice (“she had an air of attachment to her never seen before in Ireland”). “Maybe he’s about to have sex for the first time in nearly two years, maybe he’s pissed off and lost all reason, but he’s not going to publish Guinness.” Fortunately, Bernadette is back as a cute ghost.
It was Doris Signed up as author in 2013 in a six-figure deal, Shortly before she was forced into it I apologize to the deputies For failing to state her fee for appearing on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…get me out of here! She has since written the Four Streets series, set in a “tightly-knit Irish Catholic community” in 1950s Liverpool where the villain is an abusive Catholic priest. The Lovely Lane series, where “five very different girls arrive at the nurses’ home in Lovely Lane, Liverpool, to begin their training” in 1950s Liverpool; And the Tarabek series, which moves between a small village on the west coast of Ireland and Liverpool.
For my money, the latter is the most interesting series – I accidentally started with the third book, The Velvet Ribbon, which moves away from the hardknock communities of Liverpool, where “life was lived near the gravel”, to Ireland and the gypsy woman Shauna. Her grandson referred to her as a “mad old man” and “a conceited crazy witch,” prying these words, “The farm is on the hill. Money. Fire. I can see. – Before you set off. Quite confusing, especially if you haven’t read the first two novels.
From the dead, emotional, gorgeous Bernadette in The Four Streets to Victoria from The Angels of Lovely Lane, whose “natural blond hair, dressed in a slicked-back style, gave definition to her high cheekbones and big blue eyes,” Doris women are generally beautiful if they are good, brave, and confronting. Adversity, and less so if you are not. Alice, who has put her hat on Jerry, is variously described as arrogant, lively, hostile, cunning and cold. Meanwhile, neighbor Peggy is “normal” – “what she lacks in appearance she complements with mental intensity.” Oh Blamey, say it as it is, Nadine!
According to the Minister of Defense Ben WallaceSpeaking on Sky News, Doris qualifies for the position of Culture Secretary because she is a best-selling author. “What’s great about Nadine Doris is that it produces a culture that people buy and actually want to see, rather than some of the crack schemes we’ve seen funded in the past with taxpayer money.”
The books Doris writes—which Wallace doesn’t go so far as to claiming to have read—fall right into the epic market, which is known, dismissively, as the “clogs and shawls” genre, characterized by misery, poverty and abuse followed by a happy ending, set at some point In the past. Her novels neither exceed nor are noticeably worse than others in this booming region.
Doris Zeus, president of Doris Publishing, says she has sold 2.5 million of her books, of which 1.8 million are e-books. Described by her editor, Rosie de Courcy, as “a completely natural, self-taught writer, with an imagination positively teeming with characters and stories”, she is “creative, open-minded, and full of warmth and humor – the warmth and humor that springs from every page of her novels”. Others are less empty. award winning Crime novelist Abeer Mukherjee. Using his words with skill far removed from Doris’ rotten prose, he tweeted: “Calling author Nadine Doris is like saying that cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was a chef.”
While Labor’s Dawn Butler questioned on Twitter how Doris has time to be a writer, given that she’s an MP, the new culture secretary shows no signs of slowing down. She has a new book coming this August, Evil Woman — the first in a new series, The Bellfont Legacy, which Zeus’ Chief expects to make up to six novels. It’s “an ambitious and exciting launch for one of our most intelligent storytellers”, according to the publisher, beginning “right after the Battle of Waterloo and extending to the height of the Lancashire cotton industry”, and featuring “two dangerously powerful women from different ends of the social spectrum”. I love a seriously strong woman, but I may not be the first in the queue to buy it. Maybe that’s just my faltering accident.