“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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Guilty Pleasure

Sean McGrady’s THE BASTARD PLEASURE (Dzanc Books) didn’t come across my radar when it was published last year, and I doubt very much if it was written as a crime novel, but it does sound like yet another fascinating addition to the body of fiction emerging from Northern Ireland. To wit:
THE BASTARD PLEASURE is a dark novel. It concerns itself with the mystery of identity and individuation, its destruction and the brutal way in which it is reclaimed in an emerging act of intuitive will and self-affirmation, that is both obligated and free, in the circumstances, to be either good or evil – more plainly, it is about terrorism, in its concrete and seemingly incomprehensible forms, that eminently reveals existential ‘border situations’ in ambiguity and contradiction.
  And here’s a little more:
“McGrady’s pitch-black coming-of-age story picks up where his debut, THE BACKSLIDER, left off: Belfast, during the early 1970s; a time of fear and violence, but also, it would seem from this meticulously chronicled account, of precarious hope and occasional hilarity. For his narrator, seventeen year-old Seamus McGladdery, it is a time of self-discovery. What kind of man is he going to be, and on which side that of the ‘fly Provo boys’ who rule the streets, or that of his Protestant forebears-will he take a stand? ‘Black Belfast’ has seldom been more sharply realized, in taut, visceral prose whose Beckettian cadences are relieved by flashes of humour. Unflinching in its depiction of a deeply troubled era in Ireland’s history, THE BASTARD PLEASURE is no easy read, but it is a rewarding one, full of thought-provoking insights and incidental pleasures.” -- Christina Koning
  For all the details, clickety-click here

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