By Christine St. Peter
In the past twenty-five years, eire has noticeable an explosion of women's fiction - hundreds and hundreds of released works that reimagine the inherited literary traditions and the social contexts of women's lives. altering eire examines women's use of old fiction, exile literature, Northern warfare narratives, speculative fiction, and vintage 'realism', and appears on the neighborhood Irish sorts of overseas women's genres just like the romance novel and feminist fiction.
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Extra resources for Changing Ireland: Strategies in Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Everything . . but, Bridie, no flights of fancy. Just straight, put it down straight. No flights’ (p. 159). But in the final metafictional gesture of the novel, Bridie, although determined to obey the command about no flights, finds herself unable to avoid offering interpretation, shaping the plot. What is more, although she apologizes for doing it, presumably to Constance’s ghost, she persists, and so the ‘novel’ is the work of two women authors, both straining to control the problems attending the act of representing women’s writing.
These women include her mother, her infant daughter, her sister Bibi and Bridie May, the hired woman who will tend her child after Constance’s death. ’ Constance recalls that ‘she made it sound as if, somehow, it were my fault that she hadn’t’ (p. 49). Mother and daughter within this economy will be forever separated, yet always bonded in a shared biological destiny. To fail in so elemental a way, to be a woman, then to be a sonless mother – is there any way to repair such damage? 22 Changing Ireland Everything I am summarizing here is presented through the mind and pen of Constance who is recollecting the past as she waits to die of leukemia in the Dublin home she had left 25 years earlier.
If you’re happy, why would you leave? You leave because you’re discontented . . A lot of people come to Canada for money. That wasn’t my reason, ever. I left Ireland because I was tired of the chauvinism, tired of women being tied to the kitchen sink (p. 167). With this statement we move from a description of economically driven emigration to that of expatriation: not exile from a beloved Ireland, but the female experience of being exiled within Ireland by virtue of its patriarchal heritage, a situation with economic consequences.