“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.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

They Come Not To Bury Julius, But To Praise It

Friends, Romans, countrymen and very probably assorted Martians and Venusians are drooling over Gerard Donovan’s (right) Julius Winsome, which has just been released in paperback. “A lonely man living deep in the woods in northern Maine becomes caught up in a mania of revenge and violence in this expertly paced, frighteningly tense novel by Irish author Gerard Donovan … He endows his novel with a deep understanding of the evils of which men are capable, while remaining sympathetic to Julius’s strange humanity. In this novel, the borders between human and animal, hunter and hunted, are blurred and malleable. It makes for a shocking but deeply affecting story,” says the Sunday Business Post. For once, the SPB and Sunday Independent agree. Quoth the Sindo: “The achievement is magical in this novel. Words are a whispered love token; they are also the icy, flaming burn of the bullet whose gleam darkens as it takes on its coating of rich blood on entering a body.” Further afield, the Kirkus Reviews (via the Overlook Press blog) reckons that, “Donovan’s command of language is astonishingly precise, eerily reflecting Julius’s disarmingly mild-mannered pathology as it ascribes no more importance to the cold-blooded shooting of a hunter than to going into town for groceries … Finely tooled outsider fiction, as chilling as it is ultimately humane,” while Booklist (via Amazon US) cuts to the chase: “If Jim Thompson had written literary fiction, he might have concocted a novel similar to this one.” Finally, the New Yorker offers its two cents: “In past novels, Donovan has resorted to literary effects to make points about man’s capacity for violence; here he settles for the clean punch of language, which he delivers with devastating force. In prose laced with hard-edged Shakespeareanisms … he pursues the nature of human cruelty, the reason that ‘some men must create pain in others to feel less of it themselves.’” Donovan and dusted, baby.

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