The Pigeon MEN, Felicity McCall

I met Felicity McCall a number of years ago and became involved with her more closely when her drama ‘We Were Brothers‘ was nominated for a National Lottery Award, and won! I’m delighted to remain friends with her ever since. I was especially honoured to assist in her book launch last week as North West Culture did some photography on the night. Felicity is a very dedicated and passionate writer. Her most recent work serves as yet another exquisite piece and a very honest and insightful view into the world of sexual abuse.

The Pigeon MEN is a heart wrenching and compelling tale of this abuse and the impact it has on the life of a victim. Carrie has her childhood stolen and her sanity and future in need of repair. Secrets that will leave a legacy that, even for a survivor, will last a lifetime! ‘The complexity that is the young and adult, public and private Carrie is a chilling metaphor for one of society’s last taboos’.

The story is told in the first person narrative and moves to the third person throughout. The present and the past are intertwined as the horror unfolds. When we meet Carrie, now in her early fifties, she appears as a successful professional lady who is drawn to the public gallery of her local Crown Court when alleged sex abuse cases are being heard. She relives her own abuse at the hands of her grandfather when in her early adolescence, and how it has defined her life and her being ever since. The secrecy has permeated her very persona throughout her life.

This is a very brave piece of writing and McCall faces the truth of abuse head on. From the onset the reader is gripped with the tale and is left shocked throughout the book. McCall treats Carrie with sensitivity and sincerity throughout. We are never in any doubt of the intelligence and understanding of the writer. She is honest and true in the telling of Carries experience. We are appalled, horrified, yet intrigued as a reader. But we never lose sight of the importance of remembering this challenging subject matter.

At the launch last Thursday night Dr. Liam Campbell said that ‘this a very courageous and compelling piece of writing which you can read in one sitting’. He says that the book is ‘tragic in theme, courageous and rich in expression, but always grounded in the confrontation of stark realism. The Pigeon MEN is quite simply a triumph’.

This has been described as ‘McCalls best work to date’. That may well be so. But whether or not this is the case, McCall has established herself as an honest, and challenging writer. She has left no stone unturned with The Pigeon MEN. She tells the true horror of sexual abuse. And she reminds us as Carrie says, ‘it is still the dead who kill the living’.

Published by Eve (an imprint of Guildhall Press) The Pigeon MEN is currently on sale, priced at £5.95 from local bookshops.

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