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Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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New Essay

Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more


The Speckled People

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hugo Hamilton's chillingly frank memoir tells the story of his childhood in Ireland. Hamilton, with his Irish father and German mother, finds himself torn between linguistic and moral codes. His father is defiantly nationalistic, against the trend of their home town, resorting to violence to enforce his demand that the children grow up as "Irish," not an Anglo-Irish corruption; his mother, in contrast and opposition, encourages the imagination and exploration (often leading to realms of humourous mischief) as the by-laws for growth to adulthood.

The family becomes a mirroring microcosm of the political events which preceded Hamilton's birth. The paradox, of which the young Hamilton becomes increasingly though never fully aware, is that his Irish father has the similar impulses of the "fist people" of Nazi nationalism, whilst his German mother seems more naturally aligned with the Irish dream of achieving independence through "invention and imagination".

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