Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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, March 23, 2009

Some Sentimental Musings On Turning 40


Yet another rather fine weekend was had by your humble host, folks. As some of you already know, I turn 40 today. It’s also Lilyput’s first birthday on Thursday, 26th, and it was my mother’s birthday yesterday, Sunday, which was also Mother’s Day. So it was off to Sligo for the Family Vizier, and a splendiferous time was had by all. The book-shaped cake above was provided by said mother, by the way, who has always been my Number One fan. I think she’s just glad I can spell, and I haven’t the heart to tell her about spell-check.
  Anyhoos, and at the risk of tempting fate, I realised while driving to work last week that I’ve pretty much achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to from life. The big stuff, anyway – find a soul-mate, have a baby, get a book published. So what now? I guess it’s a matter of recalibrating the ambitions: have another baby; write better books, so that it becomes possible to earn an actual living from the process; become a worthy husband and father; become a quantum physicist.
  I guess it’s the human condition to always want more. But – and again, at the risk of tempting fate – right now, on the 23rd of March, 2009, I’m a happy man. Not particularly balanced and well-rounded, or smart or successful, but content, with who I am and what I’ve done and the people around me. All of which may not sound very dramatic, but – like most people – there were long periods in my life when even that much seemed like a fantasy too far.
  Life is good, folks. Life is good and interesting and full and surprising. If the next 40 years are half as good as the first, I’ll go out a happy man. Peace, out.
Life highlights to date:

1. Lily May Burke is born on the 26th of March, 2008.
2. Mrs Grand Vizier makes a mockery of her reputation for being an astute observer of the human condition by marrying your humble host, April 2006.
3. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE published, April 2003.
4. THE BIG O published in the U.S., September 2008.
5. Winning the All-Ireland Minor (B) Hurling Final at Croke Park for Sligo, versus Tyrone, in 1987.
6. Graduating from junior to senior at Sligo Library at the age of 11, a full year before I was legally entitled to, and a full year after beginning petition to achieve same, 1980.
7. Wexford beat Limerick to win the All-Ireland Hurling Final, 1996.
8. Liverpool beat AC Milan 3-3 to win the European Cup (aka Champions League) for the fifth time, 2005.
9. Touching down in the Greek islands for the first time, 1991.
10. Making it to 40.