My novel, Sour, is a retelling of the old Irish myth, Deirdre of the Sorrows. It takes the old tale and reimagines it in a modern, Irish small town, with the old heroes and characters from all four cycles of Irish mythology recast as bizarre modern locals. Fionn McCumhaill and the Fianna, for example, are a gang of youths, drinking beer and playing video games , who dabble in local matters. Cuchullain is a traveller and retired fighter, bossed by his wife Emer in their small caravan.
The tale is told by a supernatural personage, a Puca, and pretty much every scene is peopled with modern versions of the old characters. Stories like Deirdre’s are treated with a certain kind of reverence here in Ireland. When they’re staged, there’s rarely any experimentation, any fun had or anything new.
They’re still thought of as something very important to what it is to be Irish, perhaps for being something only really reclaimed in the last century with the Country’s republic. I felt, when writing Sour, that there was a huge amount of respect to be paid to the story and that the best way to do that was to recast elements to appeal to a modern readership and look at the eternal themes in a way to appeal to today’s reader; the plight of a young woman in a man’s world, young people trying to assert themselves and emigration, certainly an eternal Irish theme.