Variety Magazine describes Graham Jones as "very young and talented". He's an award-winning Irish film director and TRAVELLER WEDDING is his first novel.
The story is narrated by a nomadic woman called Christine who is furious at the release of a violent videogame about a traveller wedding for the Christmas market.
"Have a fight with your cousin and get 500 points," says Jones. "Smash a window in the pub, get 1000 points. It's the old clich? about travellers in the form of a violent videogame but it's good because it provokes Christine into telling the story of her people more authentically..."
We have sat quietly in our caravans for over a century while our fellow Irish have told lies about us through gossip, newspapers, books and films. Kept shtum over the years as a great many people have walked through the mud and knocked on our doors. Policemen, social workers, public health nurses, speech therapists, psychologists, councillors, community representatives and - most infuriatin of all - artistes. Such characters all have one thing in common. They make out like they are tryin to help you, when really they are in it for themselves.
Our history has been passed down from generation to generation through talk, but the settled Irish have never understood that because of how important writin is to them. I have always marvelled at how they use words to trap meanin and trap us while they’re at it. Whether with an official report, some court order demandin we move or just a nasty name. It’s all done with bloody words. That’s what made buyin this hardback notebook so dauntin and yet so inevitable.
I always suspected there was a novel inside me. Ever since they sent me off to have a shower durin the spellin competition in Holy Child National School because they didn’t want a traveller takin home the cup. Over the years I have accumulated old paperback classics in my trailer and attempted to write short stories. Could never seem to make them work, though. At school they thought I was dirty and at home posh. It felt like I had to choose and would never find my voice.
However, something happened this week which I consider far worse than usual. This latest insult has a certain edge. Like they have crossed a line. In short, a violent videogame has been released for the Christmas market entitled Traveller Wedding. This may very well be the strongest example ever of stereotypin I have endured throughout my entire life. Or perhaps it’s because one of our own was a paid consultant on the game that uneasiness lingers. Deep down, though, I think it’s the fact that we actually helped him. I personally helped Michael stick a knife in-to his own people. That is simply too much to bear.
Finally, after thirty six years, this girl is provoked. She has reached a point of frustration where something deep within her is ready to become a history book sittin on the library shelf which tells the truth to settled kids. They must understand our story. Know who we are. Who we are not. Otherwise they will believe what their parents tell them. That we are dirt. That we are outcasts or vagrants. That is not acceptable to me.
Assumin I’m goin to begin, I should probably start by explainin that Michael - the paid consultant I mentioned - had not been seen around here for sixteen years when he suddenly reappeared last winter. In fact, throughout our camp and other camps his whereabouts had become an almost entertainin mystery.
The first to notice his return were my two eleven year old nephews, Paddo and Christopher. They were burnin a small piece of carpet behind the spiked green bars that run alongside the dual carriageway and their smoke could no doubt be seen comin through the little trees by mornin motorists. There was a gap in the bars where they stood and anyone who glanced in would have caught a glimpse of Paddo rubbin his right hand against the makeshift cast on his left to keep warm.
Spring doesn’t start until the middle of March - St. Patrick’s Day to be precise - when the stones turn over in the water and the cold goes out of winter. It takes a long time for that day to arrive and while they are waitin the government likes to build paths, walls and houses to match the grey sky. At least that’s what they did here, on the road to Dublin airport. An area sinned on by the clouds and snorted at by cars. Not a real place. Merely the rim of a route.