Johnson N C, 1999, "The cartographies of violence: Belfast's Resurrection Man" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 17(6) 723 – 736
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The cartographies of violence: Belfast's Resurrection Man
Nuala C Johnson
Received 7 April 1998; in revised form 12 January 1999
Abstract. In this paper I seek to examine the relationships between fiction, violence, and the geographical imagination through an analysis of Eoin McNamee's debut novel Resurrection Man. In dealing with a universal theme -- the will to kill -- but set in 1970s Belfast and narrating the existential journey of a gang of Loyalist killers in their campaign of violence across the city, I suggest that this novel presents the modern city and the characters who inhabit its streets as individuals journeying through familiar and alien territories in search of a stable set of identities. Through an examination of the narrative style employed by McNamee -- the structural devices, the metaphorical engagements, the linguistic tropes -- I suggest that the novel reads the city beyond the scientific or social-scientific imagination. For geographers interested in the connections between cities, violence, and modernity, the novel invites us to establish a dialogic relationship with the literary text not to advance our own theories but to take seriously those which in structure, form, and content are radically different to our own.
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