Jordan aims high but fails to provide many real thrills

Jordan aims high but fails to provide many real thrills
Neil Jordan: his latest novel suffers from a fatally passive protagonist Pic: Bryan Meade

Fiction: Carnivalesque, By Neil Jordan, Bloomsbury Circus, €19

Looking back over Neil Jordan’s filmography – 18 movies in 30 years, from Angel (1982) to Byzantium (2012) – you notice how often he has been drawn to the operatic, the seedy, the camp, the gloriously over the top. He turned Patrick McCabe’s bog-Gothic masterpiece The Butcher Boy into a hallucinatory riff on the grim truth of Ireland in the 1950s. In The Company of Wolves (1984), he found a cinematic equivalent for the Hans-Christian-Andersen-meets-the-Marquis-de-Sade aesthetic of Angela Carter’s extraordinary short stories. And in The Crying Game (1992), he transformed the Troubles into Madame Butterfly by way of Joseph Conrad. As a filmmaker, he is an original, and quite outside the Irish mainstream.

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