Gay and Lesbian Voices in Irish Fiction
by José Carregal
University College Dublin Press. 250 pages, $35.
BEFORE 1970, words like “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual” virtually didn’t exist in Ireland. So states Mary Dorcey in her introduction to José Carregal’s Queer Whispers. Dorcey was one of the first openly lesbian writers in Ireland at that time, someone for whom not having a language to describe her feelings was a big problem—one that was especially acute for women, who were disempowered both economically and socially. Added to this, the heteronormative pressures of marriage, motherhood, and family life led women to retreat even more from the possibility of an alternative sexuality.
Dale Boyer’s book of poetry Columbus in the New World is forthcoming.