From Publishers Weekly
Laird—poet, former lawyer and husband of Zadie Smith—debuts, lad-lit style, with this sometimes entertaining story of childhood friends whose paths diverged radically and then reconverged. Danny Williams is a well-paid (if deeply unenthusiastic) lawyer at a prestigious London firm; Geordie Wilson, his boyhood chum from Northern Ireland, is "officially an unemployed labourer" who's just showed up on Danny's doorstep desperate for a place to stay. Geordie's in trouble with the Ulster Unionists back home, primarily because he has a sack full of their cash; Danny's been told he needs to go back to Northern Ireland to deal with a corporate takeover. Geordie joins forces with Danny, more out of idle curiosity than a sense of urgency (though the Unionists are planning something nasty). Laird's writing is clear and amusing, and both his protagonists are likable. But their aimlessness impedes the building of any narrative momentum, and the book's climactic scene is as rushed as it is contrived. The novel is well intentioned, clever and occasionally quirky—but the whole feels like less than the sum of its parts. (Jan.)
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In this lukewarm "lad lit" debut, Irishman Danny Williams leaves behind his Belfast past to become a solicitor at a London law firm. Life goes along swimmingly until the night old high-school pal Geordie Wilson, on the run from IRA thugs, turns up at his door. The two men's lives become entwined, as Danny battles office politics and pursues romance with enigmatic office-mate Ellen, and Geordie tries (unsuccessfully) to stay out of harm's way (turns out the ?50,000 his girlfriend gave him were earmarked to finance a terrorist operation). Laird, who was born in Northern Ireland and practiced law before turning to poetry, then prose, might have done better to have his novel revolve around gritty--and infinitely more interesting--sidekick Geordie. Laird's writing is consistently lively, as when he compares the atmosphere of a Belfast pub to the embrace of "some love-starved aunt, one who smokes heavily and shouts." But his plot is overcrowded--including a bomb threat, a tepid sex scene, and a scatological incident readers best discover for themselves. Allison BlockCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved