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Emerald Germs of Ireland Paperback – March 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006095678X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060956783
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,872,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Potential readers of the two-time Booker Prize finalist's latest novel are advised first to eat a big bowl of Lucky Charms laced with psychedelics; doing so may be the only way to swallow this jarring musical tragicomedy. In it, our hero/villain, aspiring actor/singer Pat McNab, 45, of Gullytown, Ireland, commits matricide and other heinous murders, each fitted with a theme song (e.g., in "The Turfman from Ardee," the turfman from Ardee bites it). However, the point of all the bloodshed is unclear. Violence for violence's sake doesn't make for great literature or gut-splitting comedy. Because Pat is such a surreal concoction, it is also difficult to gauge how much empathy and sympathy he deserves, if any. McCabe has a gift for creating bent-brained yet fiendishly human outcasts ? la Francie Brady in The Butcher Boy (LJ 5/1/93) and Patrick "Pussy" Brady in Breakfast on Pluto (LJ 12/15/98), but with this Pat he falls short. An optional purchase.
-AHeather McCormack, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ever since The Butcher Boy, I've been buying McCabe's books, hoping he'll come somewhere close, but I've been disappointed (although The Dead School was a decent read). However, "Germs" has left me disgusted that I shelled out good money for this book. It reads like McCabe simply got stinking drunk one night, fell asleep, and wrote this book after waking in the middle of the night. Not much of a story, not any where near as engrossing as Butcher Boy and Dead School. It got so bad that I stopped reading half way through. Not recommended in the least.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By asphlex on March 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I get giddy when I hear Patrick McCabe has a new book coming out. For years now, ever since by chance I was browsing in a book store and caught a glimpse of the interesting looking cover of a single, obscure copy of a novel called The Butcher Boy, I have been wrapped up as a huge fan. His subsequent books, The Dead School, Breakfast on Pluto, Mondo Desperado and now this, The Emerald Germs of Ireland, have all been wonderful. This is a clever, brilliant lingual writer with a harsh comprehension of Irish, American, ethnic and other sorts of English slang as well as a gorgeous, modifed and tightly retrained knowledge of moving and hilarious storytelling.
Each book by McCabe is a string of adjectives: brilliant, wonderful, funny, tragic, sad, moving, joyous, inventive, imaginative, amazing, heart-rending and silly. The Emerald Germs of Ireland is more of the same. It's a bit more difficult a read than his previous works, frequently going off into the surrealistic and understandable incomprehensible delusions of the protagonist, but you quickly get used to this so transfixed are you by what might or might not be happening next. This is both the saddest and funniest of McCabe's always sad and funny books and no author I have ever read (honestly!) has even been able to merge such suffering with such hilarious 'they-deserve-it--Good!' reactions from the reader.
This is another masterpiece by an author seemingly only capable of writing masterpieces. McCabe is not the sort of author I smilingly recommend to friends, but the type of obsessively beloved writer I urge, push, force and demand they read. I leave off doing the same to you . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
After reading "Breakfast on Pluto" and not liking it,I thought I'd try something else by McCabe.I soon found this was much the same kind of writing ;I plodded to page 180 ,then packed it in. If dark,troubled,tortured,twisted and morose fiction that doesn't seem to go anywhere is what one enjoys; there's pleanty of it here.I note that other reviewers have rated it very high or very low;which to me doesn't say that it was good or bad ;but that some liked it while others didn't.This can often be determined rather quickly by opening a book and reading a couple of pages at random.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Porter Crane on June 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is about as dark as you can get: a funny tale of an accidental serial killer. Accidental, you say? What could you mean? This poor man does not want to be a serial killer. Blood, guts and gore do not arouse him. He simply wants to be left alone and kills the people who get in the way of his dreams. Ah, black humor...So wonderful and so misunderstood!
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