Thin Places: What happens when a child grows up in a city that isn’t safe?

Book review: Kerri ní Dochartaigh’s debut shows how hard won and precarious peace is

Kerri ní Dochartaigh remembers Bill Clinton standing in front of sparkling Christmas lights, quoting Seamus Heaney. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Kerri ní Dochartaigh remembers Bill Clinton standing in front of sparkling Christmas lights, quoting Seamus Heaney. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

In 1995, Bill Clinton visited Derry, plunging the city into a kind of fervour. A ceasefire had been in place for more than a year, and now here was a US president addressing a changed, or certainly changing, place.

Kerri ní Dochartaigh was 11 at the time, and remembers Clinton standing in front of sparkling Christmas lights, quoting Seamus Heaney, speaking of hope. “He spoke of peace,” ní Dochartaigh writes in her assured and affecting debut, “in language I had never heard before.”

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