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Fish and Chip Shops: Background information when reading Long Island

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Long Island

Eilis Lacey Series #2

by Colm Toibin

Long Island by Colm Toibin X
Long Island by Colm Toibin
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  • Published:
    May 2024, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Fish and Chip Shops

This article relates to Long Island

Exterior of a fish and chip shopIn Colm Tóibín's novel Long Island, one of the main characters owns a chip shop in Enniscorthy, Ireland – a carryout restaurant that sells fish and chips (french fries in the United States). The dish is a staple of the British Isles, and hundreds of chip shops (aka "chippies") can be found in the Republic of Ireland, where the majority of the book is set. Despite its ubiquity, however, neither fried fish nor chips originate from that part of the world.

In the 16th century, the governments of Spain and Portugal went to great lengths to stamp out any perceived anti-Roman Catholic sentiment. Their targets included not only those professing the Protestant faith, but anyone who came from a Jewish background as well. Many in both groups claimed to convert to Catholicism to avoid arrest, but some of these "conversos" continued their religious practices in secret.

Part of Orthodox Jewish teaching was (and still is) that no work could be done on the Sabbath (Friday at ...

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