Fiction | September 01, 1984

Mary Bringle’s novel, The Children’s Bullet, chronicles an American woman, Mary Flynn, who is startled from a vaguely empty and dissatisfying life by a newspaper account of the death of a child, also named Mary Flynn, in Belfast. The child has been killed by a plastic bullet of the type used for riot control. So begins an odyssey into her past and her Irish heritage and into an absorption with the violent social and political upheaveal in Northern Ireland. Traveling to Belfast, she is befriended by a Catholic family. During her stay with them, Mary comes face to face with the ugliness and paranoia within an “occupied” city. In this excerpt, British troops cordon off the neighborhood in which she is living and subject it to a house-to-house search.


“Wake up, wake up, they’re in the street, ye’ll need yer dressin’ gown if they come here.”

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