From the 2013 Editor's Note by Padraig O'Malley: Shaun O’Connell has lost none of his touch. In “Home and Away: Imagining Ireland Imagining America,” O’Connell juxtaposes two novels: Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy (1998) and Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn (2009) and reveals the parallels and contrasts that enrich the discussion of Irish and Irish American identities. Toibin, an Irish writer, would have us see an America, land of the free, as an open, inviting place but exacting in redeeming promises made; McDermott, an American writer, portrays an Ireland that is magical, a little bit of heaven, but finally a closed and bitter place. Each author reveals how an imaginary landscape across the sea affects the sense of place, how “away” redefines “home.”

Reprinted from New England Journal of Public Policy 25, no. 1 (2013), article 10.



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