Ireland and the Balkans Conflict in Edna O'Brien's The Little Red Chairs

Orsolya Szűcs
2020 Acta Universitatis Sapientiae: Philologica  
History has always been a major critical exploration point in Edna O'Brien's works. Notable for its realistic Irish specificity, her fiction interrogates problems of history, memory, and society with an audacious awareness. In her 2015 novel, The Little Red Chairs, O'Brien goes beyond the familiar Irish cultural context and creates a propitious alternative life-story for Radovan Karadžić, a Serbian war criminal from the Balkans conflict of the 1990s. Attending closely to the novel's
more » ... ional narrative strategies and its visceral language, this essay explores how O'Brien combines stereotypical elements from the Irish contemporary reality with Eastern European sagas as well as history to then create a compelling humanitarian plotline. The novel has a particular rendering of natural elements that act as a mnemonic witness device. The essay also looks at how the landscape functions as a reflective tool, often acting as a separate "character" of the narrative.
doi:10.2478/ausp-2020-0009 fatcat:t7yhb272avbvvmnbvp53wlvyem