Shame, Blame, and Change: Suburban Life in Irish Women’s Fiction

  • Theresa Wray
Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)


This chapter considers modern Irish suburban literature within the wider context of American and British representations and theories of suburbia. Focusing on modern Irish writing by women, it discloses and interrogates the validity and potentiality of Irish suburbia as a site for female imagining and art. These themes are pursued through the examination of a broad variety of novels and short stories by writers such as Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Brennan, Maeve Binchy, Anne Enright, Patricia Scanlan, Mary Morrissy, and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne.

Works Cited

  1. Allen Randolph, Jody, ‘An Interview with Eavan Boland (1993)’, in Eavan Boland: A Sourcebook, ed. by Jody Allen Randolph (Manchester: Carcanet, 2007), pp. 102–113.Google Scholar
  2. ———, ‘Anne Enright, August 2008’, Close to the Next Moment: Interviews from a Changing Ireland, ed. by Jody Allen Randolph (Manchester: Carcanet, 2010), pp. 2–13.Google Scholar
  3. Barker, Paul, The Freedoms of Suburbia (London: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2009).Google Scholar
  4. Binchy, Maeve, ‘The Day We Nearly Wrote a Sex Book’, The Irish Times, 4 October 1976, p. 12.Google Scholar
  5. ———, ‘Seven Sisters’, in Victoria Line, Central Line (London: Coronet, 1987).Google Scholar
  6. ———, Minding Frankie (London: Orion, 2010).Google Scholar
  7. Boland, Eavan, Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (London: Vintage, 1997).Google Scholar
  8. Bourke, Angela, Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker (London: Jonathan Cape, 2004).Google Scholar
  9. Bowen, Elizabeth, The House in Paris (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1935).Google Scholar
  10. Brennan, Maeve, The Springs of Affection (London: Flamingo, 1999).Google Scholar
  11. ______, The Rose Garden (Washington DC: Counterpoint, 2000).Google Scholar
  12. Corcoran, Mary P., Jane Gray, and Michel Peillon, Suburban Affiliations: Social Relations in the Greater Dublin Area (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2010; Dublin: Dublin University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  13. Doyle, Kay, ‘Patricia Scanlan’, Ireland’s Own (2017), p. 12.Google Scholar
  14. Enright, Anne, Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood (London: Vintage, 2005).Google Scholar
  15. ———, ‘In the Bed Department’, in Taking Pictures (London: Jonathan Cape, 2008).Google Scholar
  16. ———, The Forgotten Waltz (London: W.W. Norton, 2011).Google Scholar
  17. Hayden, Dolores, Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820–2000 (New York: Vintage, 2004).Google Scholar
  18. Huq, Rupa, Making Sense of Suburbia Through Popular Culture (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).Google Scholar
  19. Kenny, Mary, ‘Maeve Binchy: The Irish Novelist Who Shunned the Dark Side’, The Telegraph, 31 July 2012. [accessed 3 May 2017].
  20. Lauerman, Connie, ‘Binchy’s Bailiwick: Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary People’, The Chicago Tribune, 16 March 1999. [accessed 16 October 2017].
  21. Morrissy, Mary, ‘Undocumented’, Surge: New Writing From Ireland (Dublin: Brandon O’Brien Press, 2014).Google Scholar
  22. ———, Prosperity Drive (London: Vintage, 2016).Google Scholar
  23. ———, ‘Home to Roost’, The Gloss Magazine, 2017. [accessed 8 November 2017].
  24. Mullan, John, ‘The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright’, The Guardian, 23 March, 2012. [accessed 16 October 2017].
  25. Ní Dhuibhne, Éilís, ‘Trespasses’, in The Shelter of Neighbours (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  26. ———, ‘Prosperity Drive by Mary Morrisy’, The Irish Times, 13 February 2016. [accessed 4 May 2017].
  27. O’Clery, Conor, ‘Maeve Binchy Obituary’, 31 July 2012. [accessed 3 May 2017].
  28. O’Neill, Margaret, ‘You Can Still Have It All, But Just in Moderation: Neoliberal Gender and Post-Celtic Tiger “Recession Lit”’, Assuming Gender, 5.1 (2015), 59–83.Google Scholar
  29. Prose, Francine, ‘The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright’, The New York Times, 30 September 2011. [accessed 16 October 2017].
  30. Scanlan, Patricia, City Girl (Dublin: Poolbeg, 1993).Google Scholar
  31. Silverstone, Roger, Visions of Suburbia (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).Google Scholar
  32. Tucker, Amanda, and Moira E. Casey, Where Motley Is Worn: Transnational Irish Literatures (Cork: Cork University Press, 2014).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theresa Wray
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarWalesUK

Personalised recommendations