Famine: A Historical Novel
Famine is set in County Clare, Ireland during the turbulent years of 1845 to 1848. The time period covered is part of a terrible multi-year ordeal that changed the face of Ireland forever—the Irish Famine. Although the exact time span of the Famine is debated, there can be no doubt that this was a catastrophic event—one that would reverberate down through the years for all Irish, those who remained in Ireland and those who left.
At first blush, one might think that an event as dramatic as the Famine would have had such an impact that there would be ample literature on the topic. But the truth is, while the scholarly attention paid to the Famine has certainly increased in recent years, popular interest in this watershed event in Irish history—and an appreciation of its magnitude—has not similarly increased. A realistic dramatization of this period of history, informed by the most current Famine research, would help to fill this void. There are, however, any number of works of fiction that are set during the Famine period, so why does the world need yet another Famine novel. There are two important points to make here. First, many of these novels are works from the nineteenth century and thus out of print and unavailable, or, at best, are inaccessible to modern readers due to their outmoded writing style. In addition, although the Famine served as a backdrop for the action in many of these books, they did not strictly cover the Famine itself. Second, and most important, the creative works which do deal directly with the Famine detail only the events in Ireland during this period and give little, if any, coverage to the decisions by the British government that had a direct impact on the lives of the people who suffered and died.
Thus the goal of Famine is to provide a contemporary account of the Famine in a historically accurate novel geared for a twenty-first century audience dramatizing both the actions by the British government and the results of those actions on the people in Ireland.
0591: American literature