One of the best Irish novels of the twentieth century and an enduring classic. Set in Dublin during the Lockout of 1913, it is a panoramic novel of city life. It embraces a wide range of social millieux, from the miseries of the tenements to the cultivated, bourgeois Bradshaws. It introduces a memorable cast of characters: the main protagonist, Fitz, a model of the hard-working, loyal and abused trade unionist; the isolated, well-meaning and ineffectual Fr O'Connor; the wretched and destitute Rashers Tierney. In the background hovers the enormous shadow of Jim Larkin, Plunkett's real-life hero. The novel's popularity derives from its realism and its naturalistic presentation of traumatic historical events. There are clear heroes and villains. The book is informed by a sense of moral outrage at the treatment of the locked out trade unionists, the indifference and evasion of the city's clergy and middle class and the squalor and degradation of the tenement slums.
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James Plunkett Kelly, or James Plunkett (21 May 1920 - 28 May 2003), Irish novelist, playwright, broadcaster. Born in 1920 in Dublin's inner city, was the son of a World War I veteran who was a member of Jim Larkin's Irish Transport and General Workers Union, which had a life-long impact on the young writer. Plunkett drew on his city centre working-class background, and his commitment to the labour movement, as the background for his fiction. Strumpet City is acknowledged as his masterpiece. His other novels include Farewell Companions, The Gems She Wore and The Circus Animals. He was an accomplished short story writer and also wrote for radio and for the theatre. During the 1960s, Plunkett worked as a producer at Telefis Eireann. He won two Jacob's Awards, in 1965 and 1969, for his TV productions. He was a member of Aosdana. President of Irish Academy of Letters.Review:
`Plunkett's seminal book provided a graphic depiction of a major event in a flawed society, which was ultimately a conflict between two sets of values - the values of the slum, interdependence and collective solidarity versus the values of the quick buck' -- SIPTU President, Jack O'Connor `Many studies have been written about the quest for the Great American Novel. Anyone seeking its Irish equivalent need search no further.' Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times If there is one novel that bares the soul of Dublin as much as the 'life-in-one-day'of Ulysses, it is James Plunkett's Strumpet City. -- Donal O'Donoghue * RTE *
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