"Inventory is a remarkable memoir; a work of auto-archaeology, really, in which Darran Anderson disinters his own and his country’s hard pasts, shaking life, love and loss out of the objects of his youth in Northern Ireland." --Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland: A Deep Time Journey
A lyrical memoir and family history told through four generations of fathers and sons in Northern Ireland
A smuggler and a deserter, Darran Anderson’s grandfather skirted the Second World War on the fringes of legality. Anderson’s father survived the height of the political violence in Northern Ireland, and Anderson came of age during the final years of the Troubles. As a young man fighting for direction in a country upended by years of civil war, Anderson found himself lost in the midst of hedonism, division, and isolation. To find a way to exist in the world, he felt compelled to leave his home town of Derry, Ireland.
But the mysterious disappearance of Anderson’s cousin forces him back to his city, and, in turn, its history. Searching, in the present day, for his cousin’s body along the Foyle River, Anderson examines how his grandparents lost their lives in the same river. As he continues to search, his father and uncle by his side, Anderson uncovers tales and mythologies in the surroundings, forgotten writings, anecdotes, and accounts, piecing together these lives as he moves down the river. Through a private microcosm, the fate of an entire city (and a larger story about Ireland) is sensitively and cinematically told.
Exploring a landscape that changes with the river from nautical to urban to rural, and replete with stories of heartache, revolution, and redemption, Inventory is a gripping and moving affirmation of how we can emerge from tragedy with renewed hope and a deeper awareness of who we are.