Patrick Radden Keefe: Say Nothing W/ Gideon Lewis-Kraus
Where: Books Are Magic
225 Smith St.
718-246-2665 Price: Free
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In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the IRA was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children but also IRA members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous IRA terrorists such as Dolours Price, who was planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution when she was barely out of her teens, to a ferocious IRA soldier, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his IRA past—Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and The New York Review of Books. He received the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, for his story “A Loaded Gun,” was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and is also the recipient of an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowship at the New America Foundation and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a writer at large for the New York Times Magazine, contributing writer at Wired, and author of A Sense of Direction.
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