Patrick McCabe’s new novel, Heartland, was a long time coming. “It was a hard nut to crack,” he says, on a rainy spring afternoon, as he nurses a Diet Coke in the Library Bar of Dublin’s Central Hotel. “I started it in 1987” – five years, that is, before The Butcher Boy (1992) established McCabe as one of the major Irish writers of his generation. Heartland has, in a sense, been haunting McCabe since the...
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