Roger Boylan, Author, Boylan Roger, Author, Boylan, Author Dalkey Archive Press $13.95 (248p) ISBN 978-1-56478-145-1
Determined to capture the spirit of bar-room Blarney and imprison it in print, Boylan writes as if Prolixity were queen of the muses. His debut focuses on some of the inhabitants of the fictional town of Killoyle, their provincial boredom, their dreams, occasional romances and the tribulations of the establishment that employs them. Local lads-about-town Milo and Murphy have lofty aspirations but in actuality work as headwaiter and bartender, respectively, at Spudorgan Hall (once a stately home, now a hotel). Wolfetone Grey, their supervisor, is disastrously under the influence of an obscure Russian novelist, while old Father Doyle spends most of his time under the influence of a famous brand of whiskey. Apart from the various eccentricities of the locals, some of which are very funny, life is pretty bland. But when a real-estate shark informs the hotel accountant that Spudorgan Hall serves as a massive tax scam for its absentee owner, things start moving. The book concludes with several of its characters getting their just deserts, good or bad. Boylan strives for Joycean effect, employing a mixture of erudition and scatology. He also indulges in footnotes (27 in Chapter 1 alone), a torrent of disparate facts and fabrications that cover politics, weather, geography, bogus works of literature and the narrator's extended family. In many ways, this is a virtuoso performance, filled with truly funny turns of phrase and event. But it's so deliberately digressive that it will appeal only to readers willing to put aside their love of a tale for the sake of their love of the sound of a tale's telling. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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