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Dermot Healy obituary

Author and poet who wrote A Goat's Song, one of the great Irish novels of recent times

The Irish writer Dermot Healy, who has died aged 66, was once described by Seamus Heaney as "the heir to Patrick Kavanagh". If Healy's poetry was steeped in the same rural tradition as Kavanagh's, his novels evoked a more fractured interior world, with characters who often seemed haunted or on the verge of psychological disintegration. "A lot of people are able to see better, see what's there," Healy once said of his writing, "but I might see what I think is there."

Despite being lauded in Ireland, where A Fool's Errand was shortlisted for the 2011 Irish Times poetry prize, Healy remained a bafflingly under-appreciated writer elsewhere. He wrote five works of fiction, including A Goat's Song (1994), one of the great Irish novels of recent times, as well as several volumes of plays and poetry and an acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home (1996). His fellow writer Pat McCabe described the latter book as "probably the finest memoir written in Ireland in the last 50 years", while Roddy Doyle once called Healy "Ireland's finest living novelist".

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