Graveyard Clay Cré na Cille Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Liam Mac Con Iomaire, Tim Robinson

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
17 Mar 2016
Yale University Press
368 pages: 197 x 127 x 25mm
6 b-w illus.

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A brilliant new translation of Ó Cadhain’s modern Irish literature masterpiece, meant to spark debate and comparison with Alan Titley's Dirty Dust, now with bonus materials on its history, reception, interpretations, adaptations, and more

In critical opinion and popular polls, Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Graveyard Clay is invariably ranked the most important prose work in modern Irish. This bold new translation of his radically original Cré na Cille is the shared project of two fluent speakers of the Irish of Ó Cadhain’s native region, Liam Mac Con Iomaire and Tim Robinson. They have achieved a lofty goal: to convey Ó Cadhain’s meaning accurately and to meet his towering literary standards.
Graveyard Clay is a novel of black humor, reminiscent of the work of Synge and Beckett. The story unfolds entirely in dialogue as the newly dead arrive in the graveyard, bringing news of recent local happenings to those already confined in their coffins. Avalanches of gossip, backbiting, flirting, feuds, and scandal-mongering ensue, while the absurdity of human nature becomes ever clearer. This edition of Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece is enriched with footnotes, bibliography, publication and reception history, and other materials that invite further study and deeper enjoyment of his most engaging and challenging work.

Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1906–70) is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant writers in the Irish language and a giant among twentieth-century authors. Liam Mac Con Iomaire is a lecturer, broadcaster, translator, and biographer. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. Tim Robinson is a writer, artist, and cartographer. He lives in Roundstone, Ireland.

“Corrosively satirical and darkly comic. . . . A tour de force of a gabfest. . . . Those who wish to get as close to the original as possible will undoubtedly favor Graveyard Clay.”—Mark Harman, Los Angeles Review of Books

“The bitingly sarcastic, and hilarious, drumbeat of dialogue . . . is counterpointed by lyrical sections . . . [A] great book.”—Frank Freeman, University Bookman

“[This] translation . . . is remarkably elegant.”—William Brennan, New Yorker

“If Graveyard Clay is a masterfully faithful version of its original, it is also a rollicking recreation of a comic classic and a damn good read… O Cadhain has been nobly served by his translators”—Philip O’Leary, Dublin Review of Books

“O Cadhain’s linguistic tour de force has been very well served in this meticulous translation. It will be deeply satisfying for readers familiar with the original and will be of huge value to those struggling linguistically to access it… an invaluable addition to O Cadhain scholarship… like the best of translation, we can expect it to stimulate an ongoing dialogue with the original and to ensure the place of Cre na Cille in the wider multilingual field of comparative literary studies.”—Mairin Nic Eoin, Irish Times

“Wonderfully capture the surrealism and claustrophobia and jet-black humour of the original.”—Robert McMillen, Irish News

“A cause for celebration”—Jan Gardner, Boston Globe

“Whatever their differences in tempo or phraseology, each of the current versions of O Cadhain’s most famous book is gloriously attuned to the energy, copiousness, invective and ribaldry of the original Cre na Cille.”—Patricia Craig, TLS

”Máirtín Ó Cadhain's epic novel Cré na Cille finds voice in an equally epic translation by Liam Mac Con Iomaire and Tim Robinson. A book to be cherished for centuries.”—Colum McCann, Irish Independent