“Our language was ridiculed. It was the language of the poor and the stupid.”

“Our language was ridiculed. It was the language of the poor and the stupid.”

BarcelonaIrish Audrey Magee (Enniskerry, 1966) makes her debut as a novelist Pledge (2014), which was a finalist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Irish Book Award, and will soon have a film adaptation. Eight years later he arrived Colony, which is now published in Catalan by Edicions del Periscopi with a translation by Josefina Caballe (in Spanish by Sixto Piso). Part of the story takes place on a remote Irish-speaking island, where an English painter and a French linguist arrive, very clear, perhaps too clear, about what is best for the islanders. Among us we hear news of bombs and gunfire on the streets of Northern Ireland in 1979.

Before becoming a writer, she worked as a journalist for 12 years. What did you benefit from your journalistic experience?

— I covered the war in Bosnia, went to Pakistan and Bangladesh, and traveled extensively with L“The Irish Times.” Then I wrote to times About Ireland and it forced me to look at my country in a different way, because I was writing for an English audience. I have written extensively about the conflict in Northern Ireland. But after the Omagh bomb [l’atemptat del 15 d’agost del 1998, que va matar 29 persones i va ser reivindicat per l’IRA Autèntic] I decided I needed to take it all in and write about power structures and people. I have written about fascism and World War II in Pledge (2014) i ara Colonywhich reflects what it means to be colonized.

What was so difficult for him to digest?

– When the Omagh attack happened, I was with a man who lost his wife, his daughter who was pregnant with twins, and his granddaughter. I was in his kitchen for five minutes in silence. What could he say? I thought I couldn’t say much more than I had already said as a journalist, and I couldn’t keep doing the same thing. I was pregnant with my second child and thought it was the right time to start writing.

a Colony Mid-History Journalism is taught in the form of small news stories written in the present tense (the rest of the book is written in the past tense) about the bombings in Northern Ireland in 1979. They are telegraph news.

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Violence is the backbone of the book. The way I present this is because I experienced it as a child and teenager. Bombs, bullets, deaths… it’s a kind of boom, boom, boom that explodes into your life. And the fact that I grew up in the south, in Wicklow, about 20 kilometers from Dublin, thinking that it was all so far away, that it had nothing to do with me. When I was eight years old I found myself in the middle of a bomb threat in Dublin. By the age of 10 he was keenly aware of the division, because he knew which children were Catholic and who were Protestant. The most shocking thing to me as a teenager was when the IRA bombed Lord Mountbatten’s ship in 1979. Those deaths were very shocking to me as a 13-year-old because two of the victims were the same age as me. They sparked an existential crisis about my relationship with the country. Violence defined our identity, our relationship with science, our language, or how we interacted with our Protestant neighbors. When I traveled I also realized how others viewed us and how they associated being Irish with bombs.

As I was writing there was Brexit. What impact did you have?

– I remember covering the Good Friday Agreements [l’abril del 1998, i que van significar un abans i un després a Irlanda del Nord] I am John Hume [el polític nord-irlandès guardonat amb el Premi Nobel de la Pau el 1998] Fight for a Europe without borders. While I was writing the book, Brexit happened and all these projects collapsed. It was reckless, but the British wouldn’t listen to the Irish. This also affected the Good Friday Agreement, because it was concluded in Strasbourg.

How did Britain’s exit from the European Union affect Ireland?

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We have found other ways of doing business, and the younger generations no longer go to the United States or Great Britain, they go to Europe. There are a lot of Irish people in Brussels. However, there is now a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland again, when many young people no longer even know what the word means Frontera.

What does it mean to be colonized?

– What fascinates me most about colonists and colonized are the small moments in which everything we have inherited is revealed. Not so much land or houses but it all happens when we interact with each other and see that each one has a perspective. There are painful events and it is difficult to get rid of this legacy. Our language, under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, was ridiculed. It was the language of the poor and the stupid. If you wanted to advance, you had to speak English. What remains of all this? I think to be colonized is to assume another interpretation of yourself. To be colonized is to impose your view and point of view. This affects almost everything: language, education, entertainment…

In the book, language is the topic of discussion.

– Yes, there are those who see it as a practical issue that serves communication and salvation, and there are those who do not. For me, language is important, because it is very connected to where you are. Now we all move so much, so fast, and when you’re young maybe what you want is to disconnect, to free yourself from the burden of where you came from. But when you grow up, sometimes you want to go back, and words root you, connect you to the place, to a hill, to a mountain, to a river… You understand your place better thanks to language.

On Book Island there are an Englishman and a Frenchman who want to impose their interpretation of how the residents live. They are both also vying for an Irish wife.

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– She sees herself as an independent woman who lives her life and can sleep with it if she wants. But it also represents the experience of many Irish women. It is under the control of the Catholic Church and no priest needs to go to the island for this control to come. It is the island community itself that sets its boundaries. It represents what I call self-imposed colonialism. When Ireland gained independence in 1921 and the British left, they also took some of the infrastructure with them. It was the Catholic Church that helped build churches and schools…but at a very high price paid by women, homosexuals and children above all.

Is this still the case?

— No, with all the child abuse scandals, the church has lost its authority. Not only because of all the crimes committed, but because the church allowed them. One negative consequence is losing some sense of community. Previously, Sunday morning was also a meeting time, so neighbors could see each other and talk. Now, because everyone is more isolated, there is more intolerance of differences, because we don’t come together to discuss. The church may no longer have power, but there is a lot of conservatism. Two referendums were held and a majority of voters rejected updating the definition family And the role of women.

Do you think this conservative wave is very general across Europe?

– It reminds me a lot of what happened in the 1930s and 1940s, and that I explored A Pledge. During this period, radio was a new and exciting medium, just as social media is today. The Nazis brilliantly used the medium to spread their version of the truth. As was the case then, there is more and more polarization and a gradual increase in tolerance for the suffering of others.

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