Afterword
in John McGahern
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John McGahern generally avoided statements about the afterlife. As Caitriona Clutterbuck observes, he took the view that it was futile to make arrogant assertions about something that is so unknowable and so far beyond human imagining. Melvyn Bragg thinks that McGahern remained, despite his troubles with Mother Church, 'still dyed in the spiritual mystery of things'. McGahern told one interviewer that literature was ultimately a luxury, but religion was not. McGahern was always aware of the limits of realism. The respect that he showed for literary tradition was ultimately a respect for the good manners that went with it. Because of his fidelity to the pressure of felt experience, some critics have taken McGahern for a romantic-realist or naturalistic writer.

John McGahern

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