Martina Evans's Now We Can Talk Openly about Men is a pair of dramatic monologues, snapshots of the lives of two women in 1920s Ireland.
The first, Kitty Donovan, is a dressmaker in the time of the Irish War of Independence.
The second, Babe Cronin, is set in 1924, shortly after the Irish Civil War.
Kitty is a dressmaker with a taste for laudanum. Babe is a stenographer who has fallen in love with a young revolutionary.
Through their separate, overlapping stories, Evans colours an era and a culture seldom voiced in verse. Set back some years from their stories, both women find a strand of humour in what took place, even as they recall the passion, vertigo and terror of those times.
A dream-like compulsion in their voices adds a sense of retrospective inevitability.
The use of intense, almost psychedelic colour in the first half of the book opposes the flattened, monochrome language of the second half.
This is a work of vivid contrasts, of age and youth, women and men, the Irish and the English: complementary stories of balance, imbalance, and transition.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 88 pages
- Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 31/05/2018
- Category: Poetry by individual poets
- ISBN: 9781784105785