Thursday, April 28, 2005

An Accomplished New Voice in British Fiction

Louise Dean
Scribner (2005)

I’M really excited about Louise Dean’s ambitious new novel, This Human Season (2005), a story set against the backdrop of Thatcher-era Belfast in the bitter autumn of 1979 before the hunger strikes at the notorious Long Kesh prison. With this sophomore effort, she moves to more ambitious ground compared to her critically-acclaimed début, Becoming Strangers (2004), a tragicomic meditation on ordinary lives. In unpretentious and effortlessly delicate prose, she humanises the Northern Irish Troubles by dissecting her characters with eloquent, dispassionate attention to such minutiae as the Northern Irish lilt and the bleakness of poverty-stricken lives. And amidst all the “blood, shit and tears,” she has humour and humanity in all the right places. And the grim, rain-soaked streets of Belfast are finely evoked. By creating a narrative that pulls the historical facts together into a compelling tale, This Human Season is both a challenge and a pleasure to read. She proved herself a writer of distinction with her first novel; with her second, her place in British fiction is confirmed.

DEAN Louise [1970-] Novelist. Born in Hastings, East Sussex, England. Novels This Human Season (2005); Becoming Strangers (2004: winner of the 2004 Betty Trask Prize for Best First Novel; longlisted for the 2004 Guardian First Book Award and the 2004 Booker Prize for Fiction)

Check out Louise Dean’s novels at


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