In My Own Light
In this compelling and lyrical memoir, renowned classical composer, author and political activist Raymond Deane evokes his near idyllic childhood on Achill Island, his adolescence in Dublin, and his rapid descent into alcoholism. In an alternately humorous and horrific narrative moving swiftly from Ireland to Italy, England, Switzerland, Germany and France, Deane shows us how a lovingly protected childhood is no bulwark against disaster. While this is no “misery memoir”, Deane does show how memory can seize upon and exaggerate painful experiences to provide a convenient but spurious explanation for irrational behaviour.
Throughout his story creative achievements and self-destructive frenzies succeed one another and sometimes coincide. Love is found and lost, and found and lost again. At last his recovery begins at the age of thirty-five when even those closest to him have given up hope. In the end, his book is, in his own words, “a talisman against fatalism”.
Written in three parts which are as strongly contrasted in style and tone as the movements of a symphony, In My Own Light provides a harrowing and honest look at one man’s battle with self-destruction.
Available on THE LIFFEY PRESS
Death of a medium
In "Death of a Medium" Raymond Deane blends the staple ingredients of Gothic fiction into a many-layered narrative of quest: Mortimer Livingstone, a failed composer in nineteenth century Dublin, seeks his father who himself seeks the Duc d'Urval, an age-old libertine, who in turn seeks liuberation from the curse of eternal life. These several quests culminate in a fiery and hallucinatory dénouement in a dream-like Paris, presided over by Madame la Guillotine...
Gothic extravaganza, poker-faced burlesque, allegory of self-discovery and/or self-delusion - however one approaches it, "Death of a Medium" is above all a fast-paced yarn that will tempt you to read it at a single sitting.
[Front cover shows a detail of a painting "Figures by a Coffin" by the 19th century Irish painter David McDonald, reproduced courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland.]
ISBN 1 870489 04 7
by Patrick Zuk (Author) Available on Amazon
Field Day Publications, Dublin 2006
"Whatever about the wider question of the ‘honourable non-existence’ of
Irish composers and their music and the extent to which that position may
have improved since Deane’s gloomy assessment over a decade ago, Patrick Zuk’s
new book on Raymond Deane firmly establishes honourable existence
in print for one of Ireland’s most significant composers."
Barra Boydell - Journal of Music in Ireland
Available on Notre Dame/Field Day