close to the next moment to say them without being sexually explicit which in some cases was quite difficult. Especially when those were actually the things that they were talking about. But then it swept through the country that all kinds of things could have happened that no one knew about. And no one could know about them, because there were no words for them. And these questions came into family conversations on Christmas Day: did it happen to you? Did it happen to me? So Veronica is approaching these linguistic possibilities. But she’s not there yet.
jar : The title of your book denotes the gathering of the Hegarty family for Liam’s funeral. Are these questions and silences figured by the corpse the family gathers around?
ae : There’s a depth of silence underneath the book. As well as these scraps of words floating about. I’m developing a whole new theory as I talk to you here, about the corpses in my work as flotsam, as ghosts. Things that are not processed or finished or dealt with. They are still trapped in it, remnants that stayed the same, that are swept along. But what was it about not talking about the elephant in the room, the corpse in the room? What was that all referring to? There are many unspoken things in Irish life. Even though we talk about death all the time, we’re quite fluent about the business of dying. So when people say the corpse in the room they mean a different kind of dead thing. The corpse in the room, the elephant in the room, the purloined letter. All of these are interesting to me.
I had a dream once that was very important to me. In the dream I was swimming up through these strata where everything was happening at the same time. It wasn’t even specific events but I really liked that sense. And there was a guy in the dream, who said, You’ve come at the wrong time. That’s exactly what he said.
jar : Was your dream connected to writing or to your sense of yourself as a writer?
ae : There was always a worry in my early books that I was sticking things together. That I never started at the beginning and went through to the end. That I never did it properly. I was always layering things. Things happened in layers. And I do have this wonderful sense that a book could be experienced simultaneously somehow. That you