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Ireland, Migration and Return MigrationThe "Returned Yank" in the Cultural Imagination, 1952 to present$
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Sinéad Moynihan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941800

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941800.001.0001

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‘We Are Where We Are’

‘We Are Where We Are’

Mythologies of Return and the Post-Celtic Tiger Moment

(p.219) Coda ‘We Are Where We Are’
Ireland, Migration and Return Migration

Sinéad Moynihan

Liverpool University Press

Arguing that return emigration and the figure of the returnee have proven central to discourses of Irish economic recovery, the coda puts Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (2009) in conversation with Kate Kerrigan’s Ellis Island (2009), situating both historical novels emphatically within the moment of their composition rather than those periods during which they are set (1950s and 1920s). It contends that they must be read in the context of wider Irish discourses of self-analysis that accompanied the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy, discourses which troubled the historical construction of the Irish/U.S. transatlantic relationship in oppositional terms by suggesting that boom-time Ireland had, in fact, become the U.S. Emphasising both novels’ interest in forms of feminine self-fashioning, labour and enterprise that are evocative of the ways in which the Celtic Tiger was, itself, constructed as feminine, the coda argues that the novels deploy the motifs of emigration and return in order to explore and, to varying degrees, critique the neoliberal economic model celebrated during the boom years.

Keywords:   Returned Yank, Modernity, Celtic Tiger, Recession, Neoliberalism, Colm Tóibín, Kate Kerrigan

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