In the summer after the Anglo-Irish Agreement, when tension was high in Northern Ireland, Colm Tóibín walked along the border from Derry to Newry. Bad Blood is a stark and evocative account of this journey through fear and hatred, and a report on ordinary life and the legacy of history in a bleak and desolate landscape.
Tóibín describes the rituals – the marches, the funerals, the demonstrations – observed by both communities along the border, and listens to the stories which haunt both sides. With sympathy and insight Bad Blood captures the intimacy of life along one of the most contested strips of land in Western Europe.
Tóibín writes prose of a heart-breaking beauty.
Tóibín has the narrative poise of Brian Moore and the patient eye for domestic detail of John McGahern, but he is very much his own man.
High-class reportage . . . Tóibín was conscientious about talking to real people, not just “names” with a good line in TV chat, and went to see and hear and sense things at a local, grassroots level.