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Emerald Germs of Ireland

by Patrick McCabe

ISBN 0330489062 / 9780330489065 / 0-330-48906-2
Publisher Picador
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Emerald Germs of Ireland combines the unstoppable narrative of McCabe's Booker-shortlisted Breakfast on Pluto with the ballad-like episodic format of Mondo Desperado; the result is McCabe's most disciplined and best book to date.

Pat McNabb is a sad sack of a man, 45 and still living at home with his abandoned mother--indeed, still sharing her bed and often to be found seated "on his mother's knee, the pair of them singing away as though they were some ridiculous kind of two-headed human jukebox". But then a thwack from a black saucepan takes away the life of mother McNabb and Pat embarks on an odyssey to cover up his heinous crime, taking a terrible toll on visitors to his house, including a lovestruck childless friend of his mother's and a scheming neighbour with designs on his land. Now his mother's songs haunt his life, at once provoking painful reminiscences and dictating the ingenious nature of the serial killings.

The plot allows McCabe to indulge his trademark grand Gaelic guignol, but even in its most excessive moments there's a sympathy for poor Pat that raises this above its inherent cruelty into something truly affecting. --Alan Stewart [via]