By: Adrian Kenny
Portobello Notebook by Adrian Kenny
This collection of stories by Adrian Kenny is set in Portobello, on the edge of Dublin city centre, just inside the canal. The stories reflect on characters on the edge of life, personalities that do not quite fit in: Michael, the country boy who drowns himself; Harry, the old Jewish dealer living alone; Liam, the crude but jovial emigrant returning to Ireland for a visit.
Through the author’s eyes, and through the eyes of his other characters, we follow his progress from the first story, ‘Settling In’, to the final one, ‘Mr Pock’. Old friends are met, either in loss or renewal, making or at least trying to make fresh starts, or looking back though the glass of time. Disappointment, happiness, uncertainty lead to the realization that this place has become – what the author had always thought was elsewhere – his home. Written over the past thirty years, these earnest and deeply human anecdotes form a greater story – of one man’s life in one place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ADRIAN KENNY was born in Dublin in 1945. His books include Portobello Notebook, Before The Wax Hardened, Istanbul Diary, The Family Business. He has also published an edition of the journals of Arland Ussher, and a translation of the 18th century Gaelic poet An Caisideach Ban. He is married to Ruth Webster, and they have two daughters. He is a member of Aosdàna.
‘[These stories] read, unsurprisingly given the book’s title, like sketches or portraits, the line between fiction and nonfiction further blurred by the frequent use of unnamed narrators and scratchboard illustrations by Charles Cullen sprinkled throughout… Not only are these pieces awash in nostalgia, they are essentially about nostalgia, the way that memories from the past become affectionately cosseted or gilded in their reimagining.’ – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY