Bawdy and boisterous: The New Dubliners
Review: an important book by a writer perfectly tuned into the immigrant experience in Ireland
The New Dubliners
The New Dubliners by Daniel Zuchowski Literary Publishing, €13.29 Daniel Zuchowski writes himself into a new category of Irish literature with his debut: chronicling the immigrant experience in Ireland. Our narrator tells his story as an upwardly mobile migrant negotiating life in Dublin, and we also get a deftly woven tapestry of other narratives.
Brazilian Bernardo holds a placard on Dame Street for €5 an hour. Alejandra falls madly for her English teacher. Dora struggles to interpret the sad stories of other Hungarians. Oskar has to make a heartrending choice. These stories perfectly reflect the social fabric of our capital and cover various aspects of migrant life: the dreams of the newly arrived, being exploited and having to work for a pittance, what it feels like not to belong, and so on.
Yet these tales also have a universality about them. There are flaws: the writing is not always assured and it works better as a noisy, colourful celebration of contemporary Dublin than as a conventional narrative. Bawdy and boisterous, it’s an important book by a writer perfectly tuned into the experiences of the new Irish.