Ria’s son, Brian has a similar take on the subject, believing that achieving the ideal male sexual relationship has been what drove his father out of the house and into the arms of a waiting woman. Though he clearly resents the situation, he is also clear that it makes perfectly good sense.
Then Brian decided that his father had left on account of sex. “That’s what Myles and Dekko say. They say that he went off to her because she’s interested in having sex night and day…(269)
This theme of leaving the sex as an indecent, though accepted aspect of female lives is a theme among many Irish writers. Though this may be changing, given the fact that some of the newer women writers are seeking to stop portraying Irish women as social prudes.
Given the multinational nostalgia market open to popular Irish writers, it is surprising that female authors aiming for the mass market eschew the historical romance, the gothic thrillers, the family sagas and the bonk-buster and instead concentrate over-whelmingly on contemporary narratives. Exponents of the Irish women’s best-seller following Maeve Binchy’s success, writers such as Scanlan, Mary Ryan, Marion Keyes, Cathy Kelly or Sheila Flanagan interrogate the familial and social relations of Irish women in a style that aims to be self-consciously modern. (Cremin 60)
The article itself notes that Irish female authors have been only belatedly recognized, as even Binchy had to seek out U.S. publishers for her first novel, because it was not in the traditional “female” genres. The newer authors are trying to bring women into the 20th century by allowing them to have and involve themselves in cosmopolitan and modern relationships, exclusive of the heterosexual ideal.
Amongst these writers Scanlan’s emphasis on the contemporary is the most marked; ‘immediacy’ is the linchpin of her narrative organisation…The extraordinary popularity of Scanlan’s writing raises important questions, not least concerning its appeal to Irish women and their relationship to their revised allegedly modernised representation therein. & #8230; particular aspects of Patricia Scanlan’s writing, when considered in relation to Ireland’s social and literary history, yield surprising insights. Close examination reveals a significant, and perhaps unexpected fact. Rather than an exclusive drama about conflicted heterosexual love, Scanlan’s readers very often encounter a competing and at times more dominant narrative centered on families and mothers in particular. Scanlan claims her appeal is writing: … about modern Irish women. I wanted to portray their lives, their ambitions. I wanted to show how Irish women are vibrant, glamorous and sexy and as cosmopolitan as American, French, English and other women … I think I struck a chord! & #8230; (Cremin 60)
Though times and themes are changing, relationships becoming more complex, overt sexuality is still completely lacking from many of even contemporary female writers from Ireland, writing about Ireland. Female sexuality is this secretive, profound but highly controversial social dynamic, where in one case its suspect allow distance producing separation and admiration (such as with Rosemary in the novel) sexual desire is to be expected to be a purely masculine trait. Brian, for instance stresses that he can see why his dad might have left his marriage bed, as he assumes, as most sons do that his mother is all but celibate, while his father’s new mistress is a sexual deviant, that all men might covet but only rarely marry.
Binchy, Mauve. Tara Road. New York: Random House, 1998.
Bitel, Lisa M. “Conceived in Sins, Born in Delights: Stories of Procreation from Early Ireland.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 3.2 (1992): 181-202.
Bitel, Lisa M. Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender from Early Ireland. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996.
Bradley, Anthony, and Maryann Gialanella Valiulis, eds. Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.
“Brenda: ‘I’d Love to Have Been a Mum’.” The Daily Mail (London, England) 12 Nov. 2007: 31.
Cassidy, John. “Tara Road Maeve Is Oprah’s Rave; Book Sales Soar after TV Plug.” Sunday Mirror (London, England) 17 Oct. 1999: 28.
Cremin, Kathy. “The Dispersed and Dismissed: (1) the World of Irish Women’s Best-Sellers.” Critical Survey 15.1 (2003): 60.
Gonzalez, Alexander G., ed. Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.
Maddox, Brenda. “A Fine Old Irish Stew.” New Statesman 29 Nov. 1996: 21.
Morris, Sally. “People Power: Interview – Maeve Binchy – Roses Are Read; Best-Selling Author Maeve Binchy Has Turned over A New Leaf with Her Latest Creation. Sally Morris Finds out Why.” Sunday Mirror (London, England) 2 May 1999: 15.
“NO SEX PLEASE WE’RE IRISH; Maeve Slaps Love Ban on Movie of Her Book.” Sunday Mirror (London, England) 14 Jan. 2001: 11.
“A Novel Wake-Up Call for Maeve;…