The Sun is Open is the remarkable and incredibly personal debut from Gail McConnell reflecting on her childhood in Belfast and the death of her father, who was killed by the IRA in front of their home in 1984.
Whilst flitting between McConnell’s adult perspective and childhood memories of family life, playing games, family holidays, school and watching television, The Sun is Open paints a vivid portrayal of youth many of us will immediately relate to being children in the early to mid-1980s.
Ingeniously embracing a unique style, combining a variety of sources, ranging from the Bible to resuscitation techniques with a vivid narrative that almost makes grammar feel redundant, yet gives it an air of spontaneity and continuity of the likes Jack Kerouac created during writing his original version of On the Road. However, this spontaneity hides well-crafted prose, making each passage ever more significant than the last.
As a singular poem stretching through the entire book, it’s easy to get carried away with the book, even with the understanding of where and when the book is set, there’s a warmth that imbibes every page, painting a personal testament not just to McConnell’s father but also a childhood which remains a vivid and crucial time of life and history.
The Sun is Open contains a treasure box of literary style and deeply personal memoir of a time and understanding that amid the troubles life still went on among the personal tragedies that prevailed.
- The Sun is Open by Gail McConnell is published by Penned in the Margins (£9.99). To order a copy go to www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently undertaking a research degree at Bangor University and working on a book on Folklore and early Welsh Christianity. Tom’s other work on music, poetry, health along other writings and images can be found at tomasstanger.com