NO, this book is not about the DUP.
A new novel comically detailing the discovery of the first dinosaur remains in Ireland in the late 1970s weaves comedy, drama and biting Belfast wit as the discovery of the bones, and the reporting on said discovery get wrapped up in the then raging conflict.
Written by Professor Martin Connolly, a Belfast native who has lived in Japan for 30 years and teaches literature at the Tsurumi University, the novel ‘Belfast, With Dinosaurs, 1979’ farcicly details the consequences of the discovery of two dinosaurs near the Antrim coast and what happens when an inexperienced reporter runs the story in his uncle’s newspaper.
The story picks up with an esteemed German paleontologist who is in Belfast working on the discovery of dinosaur fossils on the Antrim coast. The story takes a turn when it is revealed some members of his team at Queen’s University have leaked the story to an inexperienced reporter at The News Letter. The story weaves in the Troubles after the reporter states it appears the two dinosaurs were fighting when they died, sparking many allusions to the conflict which was then raging in Belfast and throughout the North.
Belfast is vividly described and the characters speak with biting sardonic humour with the city described in great detail, featuring many points of interest which won’t escape readers who were around at the time. The tale follows the varying and often hilarious reactions to the young journalist’s article, from the reporter himself, to a pompous Queen’s paleontologist determined the ride on the coat-tails of his visiting German colleague’s success, to the German professor himself who to say is displeased with the article would be an understatement. Also in the narrative is a 16-year-old schoolboy who becomes acquainted with the journalist and whom Martin Connolly has said it largely based on himself.
Tonight in the green room Martin Connolly launches his Prehistoric Farce 'Belfast, with Dinosaurs, 1979'. This book is a novelistic love-letter to Belfast City & environs, and a rather comedic one at that. 7pm, free in 🦎 pic.twitter.com/b5jxxewNzi— Black Box Belfast (@BlackBoxBelfast) August 9, 2022
Reaction is also garnered from ordinary people in Belfast whose wit and humour bring the book to life. ‘Belfast, with Dinosaurs, 1979’ is also the story of growing up as a young person in the midst of the conflict and a great example of the importance of friendship over artificial division.
The book is published by Shanway Press and is available at Waterstones for £12.