Page 8 - September 2020
P. 8

LITTERATEUR


                    NOVEL AND ROMANCE IN THE WAR WITHOUT BATTLES OF J.G. FARREL




            Already  the  title  Troubles  (1970)  by  J.  G  Farrell  (1935-1979)  is  more  novel  than  romance.  The  nove l
           takes  place  between  1919  (just  before  the  Triumphal  March  in  Whitehall  and  1921,  then  during  the
           conflict  that  pitted  Irish  separatists  against   the  British  government.  Apart  from  sporadic  move s  by
           the   protagonist,   the   story   is   set   in   the   imaginary   city      of   Kilnalough,   particularly   in   the   Majestic
           Hotel,   a   grand   building   enveloped   in   a  more   comic   than   gloomy   atmosphere  (unlike    Gaze  Cast le

           in  I.  Murdoch's  The  Unicorn).  In  a  condition  similar  to  that  of  many  veterans  of  the  First   Wor ld   War,
           the   English   major   Brendan   Archer   returns   from   the   front,   discharged   for   healt h   reason  s     Title d
           "Major"  even   in   times   of  peace,   he  heads   to   the   Irish   county   of   Wexford   to   marry   Ange la    Spencer,
           who   lives   in   Kilnalough:   the   protagonist   leaves     therefore,   the   novel  (=   war)   for   the   rom ance,

           directed   in   an   unknown   place,   fancifully    desc ribed   by   the   girl     To   his   amazement,   the   Major
           discovers   that   reality   is   very   different.   First,   the   rich   Protest ant   cli entele    no   lon ger   frequent
           Kilnalough;   the   Majestic,  the   hotel  owned   by  Angela 's  father,   soon   begins  to   fall  apart.   The   Major
           may   return   to   England   to   an   old   relative      (the   element   that   had   triggered   the   romance   is  soon
           missing:   Angela   dies   of   leukaemia),   but  for   a   number  of   circumst ances  he   cannot   get   away   from

           that  huge  ruined  building.  Time  passes:  Archer  falls  unrequitedly   in  love  with  a  Catholi  c  girl  (Sarah
           Devlin)   and   suffers   the   events   in   a   dreamy   st ate   of   st upefaction.   In   su ch   condition s  of    modern
           romance,   the   Major,   accustomed   since   the   Great   War   to   an   atmosphere   of   uncertainty   and

           decline, does not feel the signs of an imminent civil war, evident in the conversations  of  the loc  als






































                                                                                                        L I T T E R A T E U R
                                                                                                                   8
   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13