This book has been reviewed by Liverpool Irish Festival.
Ged Melia has written three novels, all three of which have been inspired by events associated with previous generations of his family. ‘Liverpool’, his latest novel published on July 6th 2023, is set in the city of the 1840s and 1850s. The story uses the very limited information he has about his ancestors as anchor points, with the narrative being created to fit the known facts. It is the story of an Irish family migrating from County Mayo around 1840 to seek a better life overseas. Although intending to reach America, they only got as far as Liverpool. Cruelly robbed of their possessions, they had no choice but to make a life in the city. The novel is written from a working class perspective and is perhaps emblematic of the Irish experience at the time. Contemporary religion and politics are addressed, the effects of ‘The Great Famine’, housing conditions, disease, Liverpool Workhouse, and the challenges of working as a porter on the docks and a stonemason’s labourer. The family story meanders through the 1840s and into the 1850s, often disembarking at historical events such as Prince Albert’s visit to open the new docks. But above all it is a story about a family. Births, deaths, romances and marriages are all interlaced within the generational tale. As with his other books, you may hear him say something like: “Yes, it is a novel and story is fictional. But then again, it just might be close to the truth. It could have happened…”.