Photo: © Jack Robinson 2007.
From Days and Nights in w12* by Jack Robinson:
Kieran, the youngest son of a wealthy Irish family – the one who never got punished, whose shoulders were never expected to bear burdens – lived in this street in the 1970s in a house that belonged to his parents. He rented out rooms to foreign students, and there were frequent parties, and always people coming and going. He told exaggerated stories about his work and love affairs, and every few months he went back to Ireland for the peace and quiet he needed to work on his novel – which was set at the time of the Great Famine in the 1840s; or was based, with her blessing, on the life of an American film actress. The first six chapters were with an agent; the entire first draft had been lost on a train. In the early 1980s, a few weeks after IRA bombs had exploded in Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, killing eight soldiers and seven horses, Kieran’s novel was published. Crossing the Border was a political thriller set in contemporary Northern Ireland. Kieran went over to Ireland to publicise the book at a literary festival. He was seen leaving his hotel and getting into a waiting taxi, but he never arrived at the festival venue. In London his house was broken into and his diaries and files stolen. The students who had lived in his house and who were traced by the police remembered him fondly: there was something both promising and insubstantial about Kieran, as if he was always about to depart.
© Jack Robinson.2011.
* CB Editions 2010.