“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: Tenderwire by Claire Kilroy

Dublin writer Claire Kilroy has been drawing favourable comparisons with Patricia Highsmith for this, her second novel – a recommendation that isn’t undeserved in the slightest. The parallels between both authors’ styles are obvious: Tenderwire boasts an unreliable, emotionally unstable narrator – professional violinist Eva Tyne – a whirling dervish of irrational jealousy, grief and obsession whose composites all vie for prominence. Eva’s compulsive acquisition of what might be a stolen Stradivarius violin, bought from a bunch of vaguely menacing Chechens whose speciality is racketeering in priceless antique violins smuggled out of Europe, takes her on a frenetic, often addled journey through Manhattan, to Germany and eventually to Dublin. As with a Highsmith novel, expectations are overturned by the denouement and tensions are finely wrought between characters – and there are plenty of memorable ones, like Alexander, an illegal Chechen, who’s “a giant of a man and as blond as a child,” and Claude Martel, a seemingly disingenuous, overbearing luthier (violin maker and repair expert). Loss, ambition and the descent into warfare brought on by soured female friendships are recurring themes that Kilroy weaves into the novel with depth, precision and lyricism. – Claire Coughlan

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