“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.
Friday, October 12, 2007
“More Brimstone, Vicar?”
Mia Gallagher’s Hellfire, published by Penguin at the beginning of summer, somehow managed to slip under the Crime Always Pays radar, for which dereliction of duty a number of radar-manning elves (radar-elving elves?) have been slathered in honey and staked out over an anthill. For lo! T’would appear Ms Gallagher has written something of a modern Irish classic! A first-person narrative of junk addiction in a Dublin inner-city ghetto, delivered in the local argot, it’s been garnering the kind of raves that are but a hairsbreadth from rants, to wit: “The gamble Gallagher takes - to insist on the redemptive power of story through one restricted voice and over so many pages - pays off. That’s an extraordinary ambition. A grand achievement, too,” says Niall Griffiths at Guardian Unlimited, while the Irish Emigrant made it their Book of the Week: “Ms Gallagher’s debut novel is a tour de force, an immensely powerful story written with an honesty that is both shocking and deeply affecting.” And the resolutely restrained Sunday Business Post was particularly moved. Quoth Alex Meehan: “The hell of the addict’s existence is rendered normal through Lucy’s eyes and it is horrible to witness. That we care so much speaks highly of a character drawn well with a believable narrative. This book could have been about the ugliness of heroin but instead it’s about the beauty of hope.” Dare we finish this post with an exultant “Mama Mia!”? Lawks, we do!