Bernard MacLaverty, Cal

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Cal focuses on the psychological torment and political victimhood of Cal McCluskey, a young working-class Catholic living in a Protestant housing estate in Northern Ireland during the “Troubles”. Cal is drawn into the Provisional IRA by Crilly, a former school friend, who pressurises him into being the getaway driver in the assassination of Robert Morton, a reserve policeman in the mainly Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary. Cal’s feelings of guilt and self-loathing which stem from this event are intensified by his romantic attraction to Morton’s Catholic widow, Marcella, with whom he develops a doomed relationship. Unable to confess his crime to Marcella or extricate himself from the clutches of Crilly and the local IRA commander, Skeffington, Cal broods relentlessly on his…

878 words

Citation: Harte, Liam. "Cal". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2001 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

6204 Cal 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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