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Call Me the Breezeby Patrick McCabe
"[A] brilliant new tragicomic picaresque....Yes, Joey is delusional, but he's also strikingly intelligent, capable of flashes of insight and not without an irrepressible creative spark....McCabe's treatment of him is much more subtle and interesting than the standard unreliable-narrator, tale-told-by-wacko model you might expect....Whether McCabe means Call Me the Breeze as an allegory about Ireland's struggle with the 21st century or the paradoxical nature of creativity I am not sure. Nor does it matter; it is about both things and it is close — very close — to being a masterpiece." Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
In a small town in Northern Ireland, in the troubling psychedelic-gone-wrong atmosphere of the late seventies, Joey Tallon embarks on a journey of selfhood, of redemption, and of rebirth. A man deranged by desire, and longing for belonging, with the words of T. S. Eliot as his guide — "We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time" — Tallon searches for his "place of peace," a spiritual landscape located somewhere between Ireland and Iowa, and maybe between heaven and hell.
Following the delusional, but also ultimately likable, Tallon on his quest, we unwittingly enter a world constructed by a character who is arguably more lucid during his acid trips than when he's sober. What begins as a baffling mystery in McCabe's hands becomes a raucous and ribald adventure. From Tallon's punk rock beginnings, to his stewardship of his prison's literary society, to his brief tenure as director of the Youth in Action Creative Arts Awareness Scheme, and finally to his bull-like charge into the political arena, Joey's journey toward enlightenment and deliverance takes readers into the innermost heart of a man at odds with himself and the violent, sometimes surreal world around him.
Hilarious, poignant, and unpredictable, Call Me the Breeze is a literary odyssey five years in the making. It is Patrick McCabe at his absolute best.
"McCabe's deliciously warped wit is razor-sharp as ever in his latest book....[He]
"[A] rollicking tragicomedy, brilliantly cast. Joey, with his physical girth, intellectual myopia, and injured indignation, could be the Irish cousin of Ignatius J. Reilly in John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces." Keir Graff, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Spectacular...consistently wonderful....[Call Me the Breeze] leaves you breathless." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] harrowing experience usually redeemed by the brilliance of the story, but it will generally leave you feeling pretty drained....By turns fascinating, repulsive, heartbreaking, and unreadable: probably the greatest mess McCabe has published to date." Kirkus Reviews
"McCabe gives [his] character a humdinger of a full-bellows roar which...sounds less like blarney and more like the blues." Time Out New York
"A weepingly explosive take on that most distressful border between two unstoppable political realities." The Guardian (London)
"Some readers may find the novel difficult, as the text is presented in fragments, scripts, and memories....Nevertheless, fans of McCabe will be engrossed, and those new to him will be rewarded if they persevere." Library Journal
"McCabe's raw prose...and flawed but likeable characters make for a hilarious novel." Maxim
From two-time Booker Prize finalist Patrick McCabe comes a dark and hilarious novel about a man's fall from grace and journey to redemption, set against the political struggles of Northern Ireland during the 1970s through the present day.
About the Author
Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1955. He is the author of seven novels, including Music on Clinton Street, Carn, The Butcher Boy — which was a finalist for the Booker Prize and was made into a highly acclaimed film directed by Neil Jordan — Breakfast on Pluto which also was a finalist for the Booker Prize, and, most recently, Emerald Germs of Ireland. He lives in Sligo, Ireland, with his wife and two daughters.
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