Wales Arts Review recently took a deeper look at my book 'Summer In The City State', and wrote an explorative article with an insight that both delighted and surprised me. Wales Arts Review has long been at the forefront of exploring progressive and challenging literature, music and art in the UK and beyond. Here is an excerpt from the piece, which was written by award-winning New York-based writer Susan Maiermoul:
"The Morocco via Spain tourist itinerary of Sheehy’s new book, Summer in the City State, signals political tension we’re not meant to overlook in his subtitle “Ceuta to Tangier Through Fortress Europe.” Accordingly, we encounter Frontex in paragraph one enjambed by a travel agent checklist of sunbathing locations, positioning our departure by ferry to Northern Africa amid surveillance and patrols in stark contrast to “pasty white tourists” and “the good life.”
The writer’s treatment of this juxtaposition threatens to teeter into unabating contempt. Though I have never taken a beach vacation, I feel myself begin to distance from the swift and easy formulation of who is good and who is bad as the colonist and the consumer merge at the fortifications of the Pillars of Hercules. It’s at this moment of what must be for him a sore temptation to damning screed that Sheehy does a beautiful thing, a thing of literate discipline: having raised his energy, he contains it. He walks his body away from his loathing of the postcard beach and takes himself physically as close as he can get to the edge of the edge of Europe in North Africa. The spaces of narrator, protagonist, author, and reader, collapse and reconfigure as Sheehy gazes with some local men toward the sea.
'A little walk on from the café along a dusty road and I round a subtle bend where the frontier comes into full view. The vista is strikingly beautiful and rugged. But then the fence creeps into view – high shining metal cutting coarsely down through the foliage. The reinforced unnatural border runs from the rocky mountain top down into the sea. It is strange to see the fence cut the landscape deep down the middle. It has a tall lookout tower in the middle where the road finishes. At the other side of the fence sits the Moroccan village of Belyounech.'" excerpt from 'Summer In The City State'
Link to the full article at the Wales Arts Review here.
Eamonn Sheehy - travel writing with a focus on people and culture.