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The Woman from the Other Side-bookcover

By: Stephen Rowley

The Woman from the Other Side

Pages: 156 Ratings:
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This collection of short stories focuses on the lives of ordinary working-class people from Northern Ireland. It is set against the backdrop of the ‘Troubles’ and the province’s more recent history. Strong female characters often carry the narrative, and the story which gives its title to the collection is that of a Catholic woman from the South who marries a staunch Northern Protestant, and they settle in Belfast. The strife which ensues reflects the divided communities which the rest of the book can testify to.

In their depiction of everyday violence and intimidation, the stories bring to light more latent themes of homosexuality, sexism, and prejudice. A strong focus on family bonds means that the collection provokes a profound resonance with a large number of us who have grown up in tight family circles. In many ways, the ‘Troubles’ serve to underline the tensions inherent in these bonds.

Stephen Rowley was born and lived in Belfast until 1972. In Belfast, he attended Annadale Grammar School. After a BA from Essex University (1975), he was awarded a PhD by Manchester University (1979). Stephen’s other degrees are: PGCE in TESOL (London University; Maîtrise (Bordeaux University) and Habilitation (Paris University). He was appointed Professor of English at Artois University (France) in 2008 where he worked as Vice-President (International Affairs) for five years. Stephen was then recruited by the prestigious Sun Yat-sen University, China, as part of the ‘100 Talents Programme’ and became Director of the European Centre there. He edited and wrote an introduction to European Perceptions of China and Perspectives on the Belt and Road Initiative (Brill, 2021) as well as writing more than 60 academic artices published in journals in the UK, US, France, Italy and China, and several works of fiction and poetry.

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