J1 Blues and Summer Fun
by Eddy Murray
Published by Shanway Press Belfast
also on Kindle
It wasn’t long before I got involved in Thomas Dargan’s American adventure. A young Belfast boy, Queen’s University under graduate and still a bit green behind the ears, secure in his Catholic faith. That innocence doesn’t last long when he hits Greenwich Village at the beginning of a summer-out before returning to his studies. He doesn’t have much of a plan and so the story ambles from New York to Niagara Falls and onto Barbados. He has fun, experiments with drugs, learns a lot about the physics of love, he seems to think practice makes perfect and these graphic descriptions add spice to a very enjoyable book! Part travel log and part experiences, the descriptions of his journeys and his emotions are vivid. He looks back to the 1970 Belfast he has just left, the scariness of Divis Street with barricades and burned out buses, rows of torched houses. soldiers and army jeeps and retreating to the ‘safety’ of Elaine Street in Stranmillis. What he has left behind and what he must return to at the end of the summer, this is what drives him to make the best of his summer.
I wonder if Tom is in fact Eddy, at least in part. This is Murray’s third novel and his writing encourages me to seek out the other two.
By Anne Hailes