Offaly life to the fore as local author makes his mark
Rural living in Offaly takes centre stage in Ian Maleney's debut book, a collection of poignant and thought-provoking essays.
The essays centre on Ian's home life on a family farm on the edge of Boora bog, not far from the River Shannon. They explore relationships and the complex nature of belonging.
Ian now works in Dublin as a freelance arts journalist, primarily for the Irish Times, and as the online editor at the Stinging Fly. His essays have been published by Winter Papers, gorse, and the Dublin Review. He is the founder of Fallow Media, an interdisciplinary publication for music, photography, and long-form writing on the internet.
"I want to be from that place, and only that place; to be of those people, and only those people. I want to speak and be understood; to think along their lines. When everything around me seems arbitrary and directionless, when I have no idea what I’m doing, I dream of a great chain with a solid iron weight at the end, descending into the black," Ian said.
"In writing towards my parents and my grandparents, in writing about the place where they live, I attempt to take them inside myself again, as it was when I was a child, when I knew nothing else. But writing does not grant me that kind of intimacy; writing, in the end, keeps us apart. What is it that binds us to others and to ourselves? If we can no longer remember, then how can we remember who we are? Once we leave the house we call home, are we ever truly able to return to that place, which we have recreated in our imagination?"
Ian Maleney’s precise and poignant debut Minor Monuments is part memoir and part exploration; a journey
around his grandfather, John Joe, and his homeplace. The local landmarks, physical and sensory, form the context for the 12 essays in Minor Monuments, which orbits the slow, inexorable deterioration of John Joe’s health as Alzheimer’s makes its unstoppable progress.
The book, published by Tramp Press, has already received widespread acclaim and featured as RTE Radio 1's 'The Book on One' show.
Fintan O'Toole said: "Minor Monuments is beautifully poised between the vivid recollection of experience and subtle reflections on the nature of memory itself. Ian Maleny writes with both a poetic serenity and a starting immediacy, a combination as rare as it is absorbing. His is an original voice."
Find out more on www.tramppress.com.