chapter  13
14 Pages

Insularity and Internationalism: Between Local Production and the Global Marketplace: Emer O’Sullivan

ByEMER O’SULLIVAN

The opening passage of Colin Bateman’s Reservoir Pups (2003) introduces the protagonist Eddie Malone and-eventually-the reason why he and his mother have to move from a small coastal village in Northern Ireland to the city of Belfast. It features a self-conscious narrator who enjoys playing with the reader, an irreverent, at times dark, sense of humour that comes to dominate this fast-paced narrative, and a reference to terrorism that, in another context, might feature on the same scale of improbability as dragons or aliens

but is not that far-fetched in a Northern Irish setting. Reservoir Pups is the fi rst volume in The Gang With No Name1 trilogy by Bateman who, by the time of its publication, was already enjoying success as an author of crime fi ction and screenplays for adults. A strong sense of local colour and cultural rootedness in setting, language, theme, and humour are evident in a plot that features a highly organized criminal gang of children, many of whose parents are in jail or were killed in the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’. This blend of social realism, crime novel, and science fi ction is humorous, but it also features matters pertaining to everyday life in Belfast at the start of the twenty-fi rst century, particularly the effects of the Troubles on children, without making them an issue. It is an authentic Belfast adventure story written with what Bateman has called ‘Troubles humour’.2