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'A thriller, a political analysis, a love story' - How would you describe CAL?

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`A thriller, a political analysis, a love story.' How would you describe CAL? Cal is a novel set in the early 1980s about a young man, Cal, and his father, Shamie in Northern Ireland. They are two Catholics living on a Protestant estate, and so live very dangerously. During this book, we get a political insight of the troubles of Northern Ireland through the eyes of Cal, as he gets caught up in IRA business. He ends up being the driver for a murder and a hold-up of a newsagent. Eventually the police catch him. Along the way, he also falls in love with Marcella, who is, ironically, the wife of the policeman he helped murder. This makes the book all three of the genres in the title, weighted equally throughout the book. We can easily see how this book can be described as all three. I believe it could also be compared to Shakespeare's `Macbeth', a tragedy. Cal, the tragic hero, has a big self-conscience and is extremely guilty about how he helped murder Robert Morton. ...read more.


The thriller idea can be linked to the inevitable side as well; Marcella must find out; he starts a love affair with her, starts working very near her every day, it must come out sometime. His IRA involvement is very frightening and mysterious; how did he meet Skeffington, and you wonder what he would do to Cal if he `wanted out'. You are generally scared for Cal, especially during his beating and the burning out scene. MacLaverty builds up the tension as Cal' begins to sense that something was wrong' and `begins to run'. Another example is the threat that they receive; Shamie sums the whole scenario by saying `they've got us whispering in our own home'. You feel scared for them as they might be killed any moment; this also links to the political side of the novel as well. Another side to the thriller argument is strongly linked to the love story; the irony in this book is huge, as Marcella has fallen for one of the murderers of her husband. ...read more.


This is what makes the love story so bizarre; it is clear to see that there is romance, but the irony of the situation and Cal's shame makes it hard for him to decide what he should do. Cal's tortured mind makes this love story a thriller in itself, as I have explained, as the reader wonders what Cal will do, and when. So, overall, I believe that Cal can be looked upon as a thriller, love story and political analysis all merged into one, ass the different genres link to each other. The thriller genre and the love story can be linked, as we are constantly wondering if Marcella will find out, and how, and the political analysis can be linked to the thriller idea, as Cal's day-to-day lifestyle can be looked upon as frightening, especially during the threat, the beating and the burning out. These scenarios really exist, and this both shows what happens politically, but makes a good thriller. Therefore, Cal is all three, but merged into one genre with parts of the other three linked together. ...read more.

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