The stranger in the fiction of John McGahern
in John McGahern
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This chapter suggests that John McGahern's work is in many ways emblematic of an exploration of the condition and reality of the foreign that is lacking in the collections of stories. By surveying the depiction of the foreigner in contemporary Irish fiction, it shows the failure to consider the stranger as anything other than a means to expand upon the state of the Irish nation as increasingly fractured and lost. The chapter also shows how McGahern's novel, That They May Face the Rising Sun, offers ways for us to understand the complexity of exile, migrant existence and homecoming. It argues that the immigrant characters in twenty-first-century Irish literature come from a 'nowhere-in-particular', have no history and are driven by the desire to be assimilated into Irish society, thus absolving the reader from having to engage with their dual existence. The chapter focuses on Julia Kristeva's theories of the stranger.

John McGahern

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