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Emerald Germs of Ireland
Cover of Emerald Germs of Ireland
Emerald Germs of Ireland
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"There is something special about the relationship we all have with our mothers . . . "

Meet Pat McNab, forty-five years old, and about to embark on a homicidal rampage sparked by matricide. Or is he?

Pat spent endless hours chain-smoking and propping up the counter of Sullivan's Select Bar (not that Mrs. McNab knew anything about it—she and Timmy the barman didn't get along at all) or sitting on his mother's knee singing away together like some ridiculous two-headed human jukebox. But that was all before the story really began—Emerald Germs of Ireland is in essence Pat McNab's post-matricide year.

Pat, who now spends many of his waking hours sitting by the window in his old dark house, watching videos and nibbling abstractedly on pieces of toast, reflects on those long-gone days with Mommy, while fending off the persistent interferences of his small-town neighbors: the puritanical Mrs. Tubridy; that irascible seller of turf, the Turf Man; Sgt. "Kojak" Foley, and other unwanted snoops who could soon come to regret their inquisitive, nose-poking ways.

This is Patrick McCabe at his fiendish best. Dark, emotionally powerful, and surreal, Emerald Germs of Ireland is also his funniest work to date, masterfully displaying the anarchic twists and turns that are the hallmarks of his comic genius.

"There is something special about the relationship we all have with our mothers . . . "

Meet Pat McNab, forty-five years old, and about to embark on a homicidal rampage sparked by matricide. Or is he?

Pat spent endless hours chain-smoking and propping up the counter of Sullivan's Select Bar (not that Mrs. McNab knew anything about it—she and Timmy the barman didn't get along at all) or sitting on his mother's knee singing away together like some ridiculous two-headed human jukebox. But that was all before the story really began—Emerald Germs of Ireland is in essence Pat McNab's post-matricide year.

Pat, who now spends many of his waking hours sitting by the window in his old dark house, watching videos and nibbling abstractedly on pieces of toast, reflects on those long-gone days with Mommy, while fending off the persistent interferences of his small-town neighbors: the puritanical Mrs. Tubridy; that irascible seller of turf, the Turf Man; Sgt. "Kojak" Foley, and other unwanted snoops who could soon come to regret their inquisitive, nose-poking ways.

This is Patrick McCabe at his fiendish best. Dark, emotionally powerful, and surreal, Emerald Germs of Ireland is also his funniest work to date, masterfully displaying the anarchic twists and turns that are the hallmarks of his comic genius.

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About the Author-
  • Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1955. His other novels include The Butcher Boy, The Dead School, and Call Me the Breeze. With director Neil Jordan, he co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of The Butcher Boy.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 5, 2001

    McCabe's jokey verbosity and energetic narrative voice are on full display in this messy but manically vibrant novel. Pat McNab's social position in the dully parochial Irish village of Gullytown ranks above village idiot but below town drunk. Few of his fellow citizens would suspect the wild tales he tells are true, much less entertain the idea that he could be a serial killer. Norman Bates, however, has nothing on the middle-aged, reclusive Pat, who enjoys a beyond-Oedipal relationship with his mother (she recurrently appears long after he has dispatched her with a frying pan) and tallies up a final body count estimated "around the fifty, fifty-five mark." Over the course of McCabe's fluctuating, episodic novel, Pat's victims number fewer than two dozen, but each is linked with the popular songs and traditional ballads that reflect Pat's pathetic dreams of becoming a pop singer. The teetotaling, intrusive Mrs. Tubridy is downed with alcohol to the tune of "Whiskey on a Sunday," and a land-swindling neighbor is burned in Pat's barn with "Old Flames" for background music. At other times, Pat's hallucinatory fantasies transform his mundane life into a spaghetti western, sci-fi epic or gangster movie. While Pat bears more than a casual resemblance to Francie Brady, the sympathetic, psychotic hero of The Butcher Boy, this novel's heavy irony, mock verbosity and genre-juggling are more reminiscent of McCabe's recent "serial novel," Mondo Desperado
    . Although the Grand Guignol humor wears thin after the first several deaths, McCabe gives occasional revealing glimpses into Pat's damaged psyche and the stifling mindset of village life. The mixed results are a thoroughly Irish stew of pathos and bathos, deep melancholy and wild humor, cutting observation and pure blarney. 8-city author tour.

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Emerald Germs of Ireland
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