Cian Morey, writer May12


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Cian Morey, writer

It’s my privilege to know Cian. He’s 15 but when you’ve got what we like to call “talent” (one word just doesn’t seem to contain adequately that cocktail of qualities, of enviable attributes) age doesn’t matter. Wasn’t it JFK who said that someone’s age should not necessarily factor in our assessment of them. Though we can all hope to attain greater skills and understanding with time, some – the chosen few – have it at a young age and Cian is one of those.

He was published recently in “The Irish Times” (Fighting Words supplement, Wednesday, May 11th). The excerpt is from his novel “Aether.” The prose is phenomenal, dense but with a scarily ferocious energy; reading Cian’s description is like being there – no, it is being there. Take this, my favourite bit from his published excerpt:

“Sinister figures stalked the alleyways; fallen women flocked in the shadows; intoxicated, boisterous brutes surged in and out of alehouses and gin mills, to stagger or brawl their way across the street. An assortment of buildings pumped an assortment of fumes into the sky from their chimneys. Silhouettes of airships and aircabs floated slowly past the lunar corona.”

I know what some might say: they’ll think it’s overwrought, all that alliteration and hyperbole. But it’s like Baz Lurhmann’s movies: it’s wretched, it’s exciting, it’s lurid, it explodes with colour and darkness in equal measure and black is not a colour, technically; I bet Cian could make it so – he’d put the words to it. He’s like a conjurer in that way:

“The man clasped a wine glass in his spindly hands, but I noticed that none of its contents had yet met his mouth. He stood quite still, but his eyes roved about expeditiously, settling on everything for less than a second and moving on again.”

The man’s name is Hawking and suddenly I see a bit of myself in him and I don’t know if that’s good. He’s real and I’m not entirely sure I like him or that I could ever like him. He says, “Quelle surprise,” but he doesn’t speak French. That bit was a touch of genius, made me think of Pulp Fiction when Vincent says, “I dunno; I didn’t go in to Burger King.” There’s a film script in you, Cian; you heard it here.

“Aether” will surely be an event in Irish literature. It’s wonderful to think that one of our own will soon enter that Pantheon of authors, there, by the marble column, perhaps leaning against it, looking over at the competitors or perhaps the fraternity and thinking of his next conjuring trick: turning words into worlds.