In the Labyrinth of Forgetfulness: Charley Grainger’s Joycean Journey in Christine Dwyer Hickey’s Cold Eye of Heaven

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Liliana Sikorska


Cold Eye of Heaven (2011) shows pre-Brexit Dublin steeped in the post-Celtic Tiger anxieties. The novel narrates the life of a contemporary Everyman, Charley Grainger, known as Farley, from his final moments back to his childhood. Thus, Farley’s journey envisages both a Joycean interior monologue depicting his old-age bafflement in the meanders of memory and a realistic description of the character’s bewilderment at the changes in the cityscapes of the Dublin of 2010. The present paper is a comparative study of the first two chapters of the novel in reference to the history of the city present in the entire text, through the use of the tropes of the mental and urbane labyrinths. Imbued with the allusions to current reality, i.e., the presence of immigrants, Hickey’s observations are in line with Joycean anti-nationalism, as the story offers a nostalgia-stricken picture of the inevitable economic transformation of the metropolis.


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Sikorska , L. (2021). In the Labyrinth of Forgetfulness: Charley Grainger’s Joycean Journey in Christine Dwyer Hickey’s Cold Eye of Heaven. Porównania, 30(3), 191-207.
Author Biography

Liliana Sikorska , Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

Liliana Sikorska—Head, Department of English Literature and Literary Linguistics, Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. President, International Association of University Professors of English 2016–2019. Academic interests comprise medievalism and orientalism, Celtic and Irish cultures and English literature. Her publications include: Ironies of Art/Tragedies of Life: Essays on Irish Literature (ed. 2005), A Universe of (hi)stories: Essays on J.M. Coetzee (ed. 2006). She has also authored An Short History of English Literature (fourth edition 2011). She is the general editor of An Outline History of English Literature in Texts. Vol I- III (2007) and general editor of An Outline History of Irish Literature in Texts (2011). Her most recent publication is Other Encounters: Reading the Medieval Orient in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Narratives (to be published by de Gruyter, Berlin and Medieval Institute Publications, Michigan, 2021).


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