In the course of a single, wild weekend, the narrator of Knick Knack Paddy Whack
tells us his dismal life story, and offers his opinions about practically everything. With a chip on his shoulder the size of Northern Ireland, Patrick Scully seems to loathe everyone else, too, including his family, girlfriend, and best mate. As we learn, this sworn foe of positive thinking originally hails from small-town Castlecock, where "you don't exist unless people are talking about you, good, bad, or indifferent." His account of the Scully clan--who appreciate little but a good game of football and the gory details of a neighbor's illness--makes his constant cynicism all the more comical (and explicable). It also illustrates exactly why Patrick would rather do anything than be at home:
I'd stay in the front room, switch on Radio Luxembourg on my pocket transistor and glue it to my ear.... The squealing and hissing and crackling I had to put up with sounded like someone deep-fat frying a herd of live pigs. But at the end of the day a migraine was a small price to pay for escape from the duelling harbingers of doom in the kitchen.
Having escaped Castlecock for Dublin, Patrick now works as a security guard, steals from his boss, and habitually puts away one too many pints. On its own, this disgruntled Dubliner's voice might begin to wear thin. But Ardal O'Hanlon has alternated Patrick's rants with some poignant diary entries by his girlfriend, Francesca--and these dual narratives add up to a seamless, suspenseful story, which should keep the reader unnerved to the very end. --Melissa Asher
From Library Journal
O'Hanlon is an award-winning standup comedian in Britain, but his first novel is no laughing matter. Nineteen-year-old Patrick Scully escapes his grim life in Dublin by returning to his hometown one weekend, where he hooks up with sometime girlfriend Francesca and old chum Balls for a weekend of carousing and double-crossing.
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