ED2011 Book Reviews

Delving Beneath The Surface (Dermot Healy and Johanna Skibsrud)

By | Published on Saturday 20 August 2011

With Dermot Healy having cancelled, the onus was on Johanna Skibsrud to single-handedly keep her audience entertained with readings from her Giller prize winning debut novel ‘The Sentimentalists’. This she more than managed, her tender prose style combining remarkable flavours of wit, describing the purchase of a boat as being ‘paid for by a month of celery’, with a seeping colloquial sadness that builds into a powerful description of Alzheimer’s. Her whole novel is about the way memory is stored – submerged, but still living in an oxygenated half-life, visibly crumbling into decay. A daughter searches for her father’s memories of Vietnam, a process of reconciliation that explores the ways in which the past serves as a foundation for the present.

RBS Corner Theatre, 16 Aug, 8.30pm (9.30pm), £7.00, eibfpp17.