Ciaran Carson, a Belfast-born journalist and musicologist, offers an unusually constructed history of his native city in this collection of sometimes whimsical essays that disguise a profound sadness. Remembering his boyhood fondness for building model airplanes, for instance, he touches on the religious imagery of the Troubles, artifacts of a mimesis that seeks "a parallel reality," one better than that of the present. Recalling another youthful fondness for shortwave radio, he reconstructs "an era when London, more importantly than Rome, was the hub of the universe, emanating authoritative spokes to its dominions. I hear it murmur as I write, and feel complicit with its now-declining realm." Carson, a Catholic, speaks to the possibilities of a Belfast free of its ghosts and seemingly interminable hatreds; his descent into "the wormhole of memory" yields a wonderful book. --Gregory McNamee
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September 1998 : USA Hardback
November 1997 : UK Hardback
August 1998 : UK Paperback