Backstop Land (Paperback)

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Description


"Funny, wise, entertaining and illuminating, this book is one of the best things to come out of the Brexit saga." —Fintan O'Toole

"Read this absorbing book to understand why, since 2016, we have been playing with fire. There is no longer any excuse for ignorance." —Misha Glenny

Northern Ireland's frontier with the South has been an invisible line since the peace agreement of 1998. Now the battle over the UK's decision to leave the EU risks turning it into a hard border. Yet few people in the rest of Britain (or Ireland) know anything much about this most volatile part of an increasingly disunited Kingdom.

This book was written in the feverish summer of 2019, in the aftermath of the "New'"IRA's murder of Lyra McKee, with the fear and anxiety of Brexit looming over a region in which paramilitary forces are still carrying out beatings, and worse, even as the numbers of tourists drawn by the Titanic and Game of Thrones continue to grow.

The power-sharing government created by the Good Friday Agreement has not met—a bleak record in a long-running farce—in more than 1,000 days. If it wasn't for the wonderful weather you might wonder why anyone stayed there at all.

Glenn Patterson brings a lifetime's engagement with Northern Ireland and a brilliant novelist's eye to an informative, darkly entertaining portrait of a fragile country.

Welcome to Backstop Land.

About the Author


Glenn Patterson was born and lives in Belfast. He is a graduate of the University of East Anglia creative writing course. He has written several acclaimed novels and co-wrote the screenplay of the film Good Vibrations, based on the Belfast music scene of the 1970s.

Praise For…


"Patterson is a wry observer of society with a built-in bullshit detector, and in this survey of Northern Ireland three years on from the EU referendum vote, calls out hypocrisy on all sides.  . . . The voice behind this journey through “Backstop Land” is always humane and undogmatic. . . . Patterson is at his best when he gets into the detail of Northern Irish life, from the tiny rainbow flags and “Uppa Queers” T-shirts on sale at Belfast Pride 2019 to the burst bass drum left on a loyalist street after an Orange Order parade last summer." --Guardian



"Patterson’s astute and captivating account considers the peculiar position of Northern Ireland vis-à-vis the rest of Ireland, the UK, Continental Europe and the quagmire of its own disquieting and deadly history. Part diary, part social commentary, part wry review of the ups and downs of Stormont since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, it strikes a dominant note of liberalism aligned to esprit. But underlying the author’s characteristically playful approach – he gets the word “up” into all his chapter headings (“Up the Ra”, “The DUP”, “Cupar Street”) – is a deep awareness of pockets of insularity, inflexibility and infamy in the North’s affairs." --Times Literary Supplement

"A wise and entertaining attempt to explain why issues around the Irish Border have become absolutely central to British politics and the Brexit issues. . . . He writes in a cheerfully informative style. But readers who are from Northern Ireland and those of us who left — for he remarks that 57 per cent of school-leavers leave — will recognise behind that cheerful narrative a real frustration. For it is a sorry tale of inept leadership, of missed opportunity, of failure to rise above the pain and bad memories of generational violence. Northern Ireland has always been at risk of being a place where the first recourse to grievance is violence. . . . Patterson also offers us some fascinating insights into aspects of today’s Northern Ireland." --Church Times



Product Details
ISBN: 9781800240452
ISBN-10: 1800240457
Publisher: Apollo
Publication Date: March 1st, 2021
Pages: 240
Language: English