Mistaken by Neil Jordan


This is a story of identity; two parallel lives in Dublin intersecting and switching over due to the similarities in physical appearance and personality between two people from the nineteen sixties to the present. Two boys who have grown up in different environments; one of South Side privilege the other from a modest Fairview background. Friends and acquaintances mistake each for the other the similarities in their natures allow them, in particular, the narrator, Kevin, to slip for a short time into the life of his doppelganger, Gerry. The book is superbly visual, the picture of sixties and seventies Dublin clear in the background of the stories of two very different lives intertwining. Like many of Neil Jordan’s stories there is a sense of displacement in the main character, he seems an onlooker to his own life which parallels what happens when he is actually misidentified as Gerry and passively acts out that role.

The other major subject of the novel is the relationship between Kevin and his mother and the enviorns of Marino Crescent, Fairview and Clontarf. The two of them are close; a favourite activity for them is bathing in the sea off the bull wall. His father in contrast, is a distant figure an on-course bookmaker increasingly absent from home who returns after a tragedy

There seems to be the screenplay for a great Neil Jordan movie in this novel a great movie about Dublin, Dublin people and how people interact, relate and how we all play a role in our lives. I’d definitely recommend it.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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