Neurologist Durcan dissects the ethics involved when politics, medicine and violence collide in this finely wrought novel about a neurologist turned biotech entrepreneur who travels to The Hague to witness his mentor’s war crimes trial. Patrick Lazerenko is a punk teen in Montreal when he first meets Hernan García, the Spanish immigrant owner of a neighbourhood grocery store. Caught trying to vandalize Hernan’s store, Patrick is roped into working off the damages and soon finds himself attached to the García family. When Patrick sees Hernan’s backroom medical consultations with local immigrants, he is inspired to become a doctor himself. Years later, a journalist exposes Hernan—dubbed the Angel of Lepaterique—as having been mixed up in the CIA-backed torture of subversive citizens in Honduras in the 1980s. Parallels to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are acute (and even overtly identified) as Hernan is accused of witnessing and aiding in detainee torture. Subplots involving a devious political think-tank, the long-expired romance between Patrick and Hernan’s daughter and the goings-on at Patrick’s company, provide a rich backdrop to the trial, but the centrepiece is the mélange of complex feelings that arise within Patrick, who finds himself simultaneously condemning and rooting for Hernan. – Publishers WeeklyFor much, much more of the same, jump on over to Liam Durcan’s interweb yokeybus. Just don’t mention Mursheen and / or pickin’ praties.
“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.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Bring Us The Heart of Hernan García
Yet another Canadian-Irish writer hoves into view above a Greenland-shaped horizon, although as usual we’re a tad tardy off the mark with Paul Durcan’s GARCIA’S HEART, which arrived on the shelves back in November. Still, better late than later, as we always say. Quoth Publishers Weekly: