“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, September 16, 2011

“Dante Is Well Served Here, All Around.”

I’m feeling a bit guilty, if I’m honest, about snowing the Three Regular Readers with reviews of ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL. But here’s the thing: I don’t get a book published very often, and as far as I know, this may well be the last book of mine that will ever hit a shelf. So, in part, I kind of owe it to the book to spread the word as far as I can; more importantly, and given that Liberties Press were good enough to take a gamble on publishing it when no other house would touch it with the proverbial barge pole, I definitely owe it to Liberties to parp the trumpets at every opportunity.
  Anyway, the latest review to pop up comes courtesy of Richard L. Pangburn at Little Known Gems, who appears to have given AZC quite a close reading, and particularly in terms of the ‘writer vs his muse’ aspect, in which context he cites Cormac McCarthy, Lawrence Block and Dante. The full review can be found here, with the gist running thusly:
“On its surface it crackles with wit, aphorisms, black one-liners, erudite literary allusions, popular culture references, and frequently surprising wordplay … laced with autobiographical asides and very dark humour involving terrorism, fatherhood, hospitals, the relationship between creation and destruction in parable, and much more … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a literary novel and a darkly humorous work of philosophy. It easily falls into that sub-category of intellectual noir … Dante is well served here, all around.” - Little Known Gems
  All of which is very nice indeed, and I thank you kindly, sir.
  Meanwhile, Tony Bailie of the Irish News published an interview with yours truly yesterday. Here’s a sampler:
Declan Burke’s surreal take on the noir genre is generating rave reviews – including thumbs up from John Banville, Ken Bruen, John Connolly and Colin Bateman – and the character-confronting-the-author twist has seen Burke being compared to Flann O’Brien.
  “I’m a big fan of Flann O’Brien, and particularly AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS – I’ve always loved that idea of messing about with the way you can tell a story and especially the idea that the characters in a book are entitled to have their say about how the story is going,” Burke says.
  “You can get a bit heavy about it and talk about how it’s an expression of free will, with the writer being ‘God’ and the characters ‘human beings’ – I mean, if your life is a story, don’t you feel like you’re entitled to have some say in how it‘ll work out?
  “I didn’t sit down and say, ‘Right, I’m going to write a Flann O’Brien book.’ The way the story came out is the way it needed to be to tell this particular story. Besides, that kind of narrative playfulness is far older than Flann O’Brien. It’s nearly as old as the novel itself, going all the way back to Tristram Shandy.”
  For the rest, courtesy of Tony Bailie’s blog (the Irish News being a subscription site), clickety-click here

2 comments:

Photographe à Dublin said...

Oh no... not Dante.

I'm gradually recovering from the overdose of angels in Italian art that wore me out in May.

slate.com/id/2178371/

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Don't feel guilty - enjoy!!!!