The Harbor Boys
A MemoirBook - 2006
From the author of The Speckled People, one of the most lyrical and powerful memoirs of recent times, comes an exploration of another crucial moment in his early life: the summer he spent working at a harbor close to his home in Dublin, at a time of tremendous unrest.
As a boy, Hugo Hamilton felt a strong desire "to have no past behind me," to be rid of the confused identity he had inherited from his German mother and Irish father, and to cut the tether that connected him to their collective memory. But listening to stories of his mother's shame at the hands of Allied soldiers in the aftermath of the Second World War, along with his German cousin's mysterious disappearance somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, he felt the strengthening of history's determined grip.
A job at the harbor, rather than offering him respite, entangled him in a bitter feud between two fishermen--one Catholic, one Protestant. Against the background of the spiraling troubles in the North, Hugo listened to the missing persons bulletins going out on the radio for his cousin and watched as the unfolding harbor duel moved toward a tragic end.
The Harbor Boys, deeply moving and well observed, brilliantly charts a young man as he battles inheritance and struggles to place himself in a world of his own making.