“Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent “Declan Burke is one funny bastard. The Lammisters ... conducts a forensic analysis on the anatomy of a story.” – Liz Nugent “Burke’s exuberant prose takes centre stage … He plays with language like a jazz soloist stretching the boundaries of musical theory.” – Totally Dublin “A mega-meta smorgasbord of inventive language ... linguistic verve not just on every page but every line.Irish Times “Above all, The Lammisters gives the impression of a writer enjoying himself. And so, dear reader, should you.” – Sunday Times “A triumph of absurdity, which burlesques the literary canon from Shakespeare, Pope and Austen to Flann O’Brien … The Lammisters is very clever indeed.” – The Guardian

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Picador)

All paperback editions of Christine Falls carry little blue stickers reminding you that it was written by Man Booker winner John Banville. To ensure he doesn’t alienate his core fan base? Because chances are they’ll be pretty alienated once they get around to reading it. The novel revolves around the joyless Quirke, a hard-drinking, cynical pathologist with a screwed-up personal life – so far, so apposite for the protagonist of a crime novel. In a trail that begins with Quirke’s own family, when his brother-in-law, an obstetrician, changes the records pertaining to the death of a girl called Christine Falls, Quirke uncovers a baby smuggling operation that ends with high-ranking Catholic clergy in Boston. Banville’s descriptive and atmosphere-creating faculties are utilised well; the dreariness, repression and theocracy of 1950s Dublin are deftly drawn. However, as a crime novel, it falls short on story development and pace and relies on clich├ęs, pat answers and two-dimensional characters to move the plot along. Baby smuggling in ’50’s Ireland could have been fantastic idea for a novel but it’s a pity that Banville chose to explore it through this genre - quick-moving plots and believable baddies aren’t his forte. But kudos for trying.- Claire Coughlan

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