“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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If The Name Fitz, Wear It

I was away last weekend, engaged in fifth wedding anniversary-related shenanigans, so I didn’t get to see Saturday’s Irish Times’ books pages until yesterday. Some very good stuff there was, too, starting with Arminta Wallace’s piece on how crime fiction set in Italy (albeit courtesy of non-Italian writers) is about to steal the limelight away from its Scandinavian counterpart. Among the writers interviewed was Conor Fitzgerald, whose THE FATAL TOUCH is published round about now. Quoth Conor:
“The Scandinavians have a good society with a nasty underbelly. In Italy it’s almost the reverse; they know they have a bad society. Usually detective fiction is about setting the world to rights, so if you place it in Italy you’ve got a problem. Crimes do not get solved; court cases never finish.”
  Wallace, by the way, also tells us that ‘Conor Fitzgerald’ is a pseudonym, and reveals the name of the author’s father, who is a famous Irish poet (hint: it’s not Seamus Heaney). For the scoop, clickety-click here
  Elsewhere, Ed O’Loughlin’s very fine sophomore novel, TOPLOADER, was reviewed by David Park, with the gist running thusly:
“O’Louglin’s writing is consistently impressive in his descriptions of the imposition of military might and its human consequences. He is also skilled at capturing the nightmarish, terrorised topography inside the zone and the conditions that the inhabitants have to endure.”
  Park was less impressed with the comic aspects of the novel, which is a little bit odd, given that TOPLOADER is a comic novel in the vein of DR STRANGELOVE - dark and tragic, certainly, but always attuned to the absurdities of the ‘war on terror’. For what it’s worth, I read TOPLOADER with a sloppy grin pasted to my face throughout. If you remain unconvinced that the comic novel can be simultaneously funny and heartbreaking, then I recommend you read TOPLOADER.
  For the rest of the review, clickety-click here
  Finally, Max McGuinness reviewed Hadrien Laroche’s THE LAST GENET: A WRITER IN REVOLT, which details Jean Genet’s political activism in the latter stages of his life, when he went out to bat for organisations such as the Black Panthers, the PLO and the Red Army Faction. I went through a phase of gorging on Jean Genet some years ago now, and enjoyed the vicarious wallowing in the gutter that reading Genet offers, although I wouldn’t be in any great hurry to re-read any of the novels. That said, I have a biography, THE IMAGINATION OF JEAN GENET by Joseph McMahon, sitting on the shelves, and I might be tempted to crack it open if I ever again get to the point where I have the luxury of simply reading for fun.
  Anyway, for the review of THE LAST GENET, clickety-click here

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