After the Lockout, Paperback
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


An ambitious and compelling first novel about a key moment in Irish history.

November 1917. With tensions in Ireland, war in Europe and revolution in Russia, Victor Lennon returns to his home village after a long exile.

Radicalised by his experiences in the Dublin Lockout and Easter Rising, Victor is a hero to many but a danger to some.

Those closest to Victor know his true nature: his father, Pius, now drinking himself to death; his oldest friend, Charlie, wounded in the trenches; and the love of his life, Maggie, who he left behind years before.

But soon Victor and the fearsome parish priest, Stanislaus Benedict, are on a collision course, with the very souls of the people caught between religion and socialism.

Told from the perspectives of these two equally strong-willed characters, After the Lockout is a first novel of tremendous ambition and achievement.

At its heart is a conflict emblematic of a recurring faultline in Irish history, and of one more eternal and universal: between hope and experience; between ideals and human weakness.




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"Being right is cold comfort when the whole world is wrong"In November 1917, Victor Lennon receives the summons he’s been avoiding for ten years. While he’s been fighting for a communist republic in the Dublin Lockout and Easter Rising, his father has been drinking the family wealth. The dogmatic local bishop Benedict sends for the young man, bringing hardened and cynical politics into a thus-far tranquil village and ends up with much more of a revolutionary than he can handle. Victor helps his father back onto his feet, fixes up the farm, and falls back in love with his childhood sweetheart. If only Ida Harte would step out of the story...McCann renders 1917 country Ireland well, with simple supporting characters and an undeniably strong sense of community in the village folk of Madden. The key characters, Benedict and Victor, are forcefully and diametrically opposed in their opinions, but have critical flaws of character which render both quite unsympathetic.The narrative drags at first; almost the first third of the book was devoted to exposition and character description before Victor returns to Madden. I understand the need to give Victor a certain history and show the reader just how committed he is to the revolution, but it became dull rather quickly.I did not finish this book; the combination of a very slow start and unsympathetic characters – Victor seems to bring all his trouble upon himself, philandering and politicising – made it a dull read for me. Those with a stronger interest in the era or more patience with stubborn, opinionated, womanising protagonists would enjoy it more.

Also by Darran McCann



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