Bestselling Irish novel with an introduction by Fintan O'Toole
Centring on the seminal lockout of 20,000 workers in Dublin in 1913, Strumpet City by Irish writer James Plunkett encompasses a wide sweep of city life. From the destitution of "Rashers" Tierney, the poorest of the poor, to the solid, aspirant respectability of Fitz and Mary, the priestly life of Father O'Connor, and the upper-class world of Yearling and the Bradshaws, it paints a portrait of a city of stark contrasts, with an urban working class mired in vicious poverty. Strumpet City is much more than a book about the Lockout. Through the power of vivid fiction we encounter all the complexities of humanity. The brilliant and much-loved TV series, originally screened by RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcaster, in 1980, is fondly remembered by many but to read the book is to immerse yourself in social and historical writing akin to Chekhov and Tolstoy. Strumpet City is the great, sweeping Irish historical novel of the 20th century.
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 Telefís Éireann. 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.