All Names Have Been ChangedPosted: 13.09.2009
After reading Claire Kilroy’s debut novel, All Summer, I was really looking forward to checking out her latest book, All Names Have Been Changed. I eventually ended up reading it in its entirety whilst sitting in Hodges Figgis, changing my seat every half an hour or so to try to conceal my lack of purchasing. I enjoyed the novel, but found it quite self-reflexive, since it was centrally set around a creative writing course in Trinity College, and consequently, was highly aware of its own literary artifice. Being a Trinity student myself, it was a very familiar experience reading the book – especially the descriptions of the college and the way in which each of the three sections of the novel were named after the three academic terms. I also liked that each of the chapters took its title from an Irish song or book – for example The Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays” or John Banville’s The Book of Evidence.
The most memorable character in the book was the alcoholic but brilliant tutor of the writing group, PJ Glynn – Kilroy creates the character out of a melange of famous Irish writers which creates a very realistic effect, Glynn almost takes on a life of his own. Set in the bleak surroundings of 1980s Dublin, the atmosphere often veers towards the claustrophobic, but still, if you’re interested in Irish writing, then it’s well worth reading this latest example of Claire Kilroy’s very accomplished prose.