One City One Book
For our latest instalment of ‘An American in Dublin’, Emma fills us in on One City One Book and this year’s choice by James Plunkett:
Over here at DublinTown.ie, we’re gearing up for One City One Book. What’s it all about? Each year, the Dublin City Public Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature pick a Dublin-focused book each year for both residents and visitors to read, enjoy, and discuss. Then, throughout the month of April, various cafes and bars around the city host fun free shows, readings, and more — you can view the full listing of events here.
This year’s book? Strumpet City by James Plunkett.
I’ll be honest here: until a couple weeks ago, I hadn’t actually heard of Strumpet City. When I did hear of it through One City One Book, I giggled, because let’s be real: one does not hear the word “strumpet” every day. (I mean, I do, actually, because it’s one of my grandfather’s favorite words and he totally overuses it. This might be why I have a special fondness for “strumpet.” It means “trollop” or “harlot,” for those of you who born after 1940. Or, as I think you say in Ireland, “moll.” [I’m American. Perhaps this can excuse why I hadn’t heard of James Plunkett?]) My immature response to the title aside, this does seem to be an intriguing book.
I did a bit of research on Strumpet City in preparation for One City One Book. Set in early 20th century Dublin, the novel tells the story of the lockout of 20,000 workers in Dublin in 1913. It “paints a portrait of a city of stark contrasts,” the publisher writes, presenting an array of personalities and lifestyles from “the destitution of Rashers Tierney to the solid, aspirant respectability of Fitz and Mary, the priestly life of Father O’Connor, and the upper-class world of Yearling and the Bradshaws.”
Intriguing, right? I don’t normally gravitate towards historical writing, but I love me a portrait of a city of stark contrasts. And presumably the book involves strumpets, so there’s that too. I’ll be reading & reviewing Strumpet City next week; check back here at DublinTown.ie for my thoughts. I encourage everyone to read Strumpet City with me — I want to hear your thoughts too!