Why this book?
I first read this book in my teens and it profoundly affected me. The storyline is set in Dublin from 1907 to 1914, when a third of the city’s residents were destitute. Large families lived in single rooms in the dilapidated former homes of wealthy landlords. The author weaves the lives of his fictional characters into the workers’ revolt and great lockout of 1913, a tragic time for the ordinary people of Dublin. In spite of this, there are wonderful scenes of kindness and self-sacrifice that a close-knit community will often provide. I feel this book greatly influenced my own writing decades after first reading it.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Set in Dublin during the Lockout of 1913, Strumpet City is a panoramic novel of city life. It embraces a wide range of social milieux, from the miseries of the tenements to the cultivated, bourgeois Bradshaws. It introduces a memorable cast of characters: the main protagonist, Fitz, a model of the hard-working, loyal and abused trade unionist; the isolated, well-meaning and ineffectual Fr O'Connor; the wretched and destitute Rashers Tierney. In the background hovers the enormous shadow of Jim Larkin, Plunkett's real-life hero.
Strumpet City's popularity derives from its realism and its naturalistic presentation of traumatic historical events. There are…