“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.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Remembrance Of Almond Buns Past
Philip Davison’s (right) The Book-Thief’s Heartbeat (1981) is one of our favourite novels of Dublin, a snapshot of a time and place long gone ever since the Celtic Tiger chewed up and spat out the old Bewley’s on Grafton Street, haven to its hero, the job-dodging, almond bun-scoffing Oliver Power. Students looking to write a thesis on the impact of the Celtic Tiger on Irish fiction might want to consider Davison as a subject: The Book-Thief’s Heartbeat was a beautifully weighted piece of whimsical comedy which sank without a trace, while his crime writing has gone from strength to strength in the last decade. “Each word in this bleakly humorous novel promises to explode and bring light to the shadows. Philip Davison’s control is that of a spymaster, deftly arranging inconspicuous elements into a thrilling whole ... Davison never fails to surprise, compel and intrigue with dry philosophy and grim wit,” reckoned the Times Literary Review of A Burnable Town (2006), while the Independent on Sunday weighed in with “Davison is at his best when he’s writing about the nuances of human behaviour … some thoroughly compelling scenes … cracking dialogue.” So when is Davison – variously compared to Graham Greene, Sam Beckett and John Le Carré – likely to grace us with the fifth instalment in his globe-trotting Harry Fielding series? Give us a call, Phil: we’ll hook up in Bewley’s for an almond bun.