Sara Keating: Why Louise Nealon’s Snowflake is a clever choice for One Dublin One Book

Wide-ranging themes of rural/urban conflict, family histories, generational tension and mental health will attract a wide variety of readership

Louise Nealon, author of Snowflake, at home in Kildare. Picture: Bryan Meade

“If the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth, it could be reconstructed from my book.” So wrote James Joyce of his native Dublin, drawing reference to his 1923 narrative experiment Ulysses, which presents both a day in the life of its protagonist Leopold Bloom and a descriptive map of the city. Every June, Bloom’s journey is marked by superfans making the journey from suburban Sandycove into the city in Joyce’s honour.

This is a pilgrimage that Christopher Morash invokes early on in his 2023 literary study, Dublin: A Writer’s City. The Canadian scholar maps his own journey too, arriving as a student in Ireland in the mid 1980s, where he marvelled at the “density of literary associations” around Trinity College: Oscar Wilde, Thomas Kinsella, Brendan Kennelly, Samuel Beckett, the first home of the Abbey Theatre on neighbouring Pearse Street and of course Joyce.