Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Why are Nadine Dorries’ novels so full of Irish cliches?
Good women are beautiful. Bad women aren’t. And men will do anything for a Guinness and a potato. Our writer loses herself in the blarney-filled world of the new culture secretary’s oeuvre
https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2021/ ... ss-blarney
It’s hard not to wonder, when reading Nadine Dorries’ novels, whether the newly anointed culture secretary keeps a checklist of cliches about the Irish beside her as she writes. One character even says: “No one in their right mind ever had a bad word to say about a potato.” Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as a Dorries protagonist would say. And in fact does.
Another has “vivid, twinkling blue eyes, the kind that can only come from Irish roots”. A third “embodied everything everyone knows to be true of an Irishman. He was as bold as brass, full of the blarney and didn’t know the meaning of the word shy.” Men knock back the Guinness (28 mentions in The Four Streets, Dorries’ first book), while they dream of “green fields the colour of emeralds, or a raven-haired girl, with eyes that shone like diamonds”, and kick each other’s heads in. “It was the Irish way. Fists and boots first, words later.”
Jerry, the true Irishman mentioned in the previous paragraph, loses the plot when he sees beautiful Bernadette, she of the “long untameable red hair”. Dorries writes: “Holy Mary, he thought to himself, where the feck has me sensibility gone and why is me hand shaking like a virgin on her wedding night, spillin’ the bleedin’ tea everywhere?” ...
...According to defence secretary Ben Wallace, speaking on Sky News, Dorries is qualified to be culture secretary because she is a bestselling author. “What’s great about Nadine Dorries is she produces culture that people buy and actually want to see, rather than some of the more crackpot schemes we’ve seen being funded in the past by taxpayers’ money.”
The books Dorries is writing – which Wallace didn’t go so far as to claim he’d read – fall squarely into the saga market, which is known, rather dismissively, as the “clogs and shawls” genre, and which feature misery, poverty and abuse followed by a happy ending, set at some point in the past. Her novels neither transcend nor are notably worse than others in this booming area....
...The award-winning crime novelist Abir Mukherjee, wielding his words with a skill far removed from Dorries’ vapid prose, tweeted: “Calling Nadine Dorries an author is like saying cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was a chef.”...