A brilliant 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
“Gloriously attuned to the energy, copiousness, invective and ribaldry of the original Cre na Cille.”—Patricia Craig, Times Literary Supplement
“Corrosively satirical and darkly comic. . . . A tour de force of a gabfest.“—Mark Harman, Los Angeles Review of Books
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 was a lecturer, broadcaster, translator, and biographer. Tim Robinson was a writer, artist, and cartographer. They are both deceased.