The Wild Laughter was released earlier this year to wide acclaim; the storyline painting a confronting and raw look at the human price of recession and the choices made over a lifetime, now placed firmly in the spotlight of a dysfunctional family, but at the same time, always family.
The Chief, as he is called by his sons is the head of the family; a big man, full of life, firm decision making and often warped judgements. The mother, delicate and frail, referred to as Norah, a former Nun, still held in thrall to her former life, Cormac the golden boy, the one most expected to succeed and he did, Hart the son who remained, the one considered lesser a person, but the one who struggled to hold the family farm together during severe recession, coping with some of the bad choices The Chief had made over this lifetime of governance.
This darkly poetic tale commences with “The night the chief died I lost my father and the country lost a battle it wouldn’t confess to be fighting.’, words that present from the beginning a story that is going to be deeply scored with emotion; deeply embedded in the wash-up of Ireland after the reign of the Celtic Tiger and the subsequent devastation of the 2008 recession.
As with all things Irish there is a particular way or mannerism within their culture, a culture permeated with patterns of affluence and devastation, a history that tends to showcase the myriad of both human resilience and destruction that is particularly Irish. This has been captured with this poignant, and yet in so many ways, flamboyant look at a family in despair, a family facing the reality of destruction, a family coming to the realisation that there is truly nothing left, and when there is nothing left of what has always been considered as the ‘family’, what next.
Contemporary, harsh, at times cynical and yet in its reality offering the balance of laughter, The Wild Laughter will, as do many contemporary works, challenge, confront and at times repel, as it places well into or under the spotlight the stories we all tell to create, to forge and hold the bonds that are ‘family’.
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin/Bloomsbury|