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Issue 42 - PerfectingthegiftofMcNab

Whisky Magazine Issue 42
September 2004

 

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PerfectingthegiftofMcNab

PatrickMcCabe'sdisturbedprotagonistMcNabfirstappearedinTheButcherBoy;JeffersonChaseseeshowhe'sgrown

Thegreatdilemmafacedbytoday'sgenerationofgiftedIrishwritersisalltheothergiftedIrishwritersfrompastgenerationswhohave,asweAmericanssay,“beenthere,donethat.”CallitJamesJoyceFatigueSyndrome.

EverybodylovesIrishliteratureforitssheardelightinlanguageandwryrevelryinhumanfoibles.Butjusthowmanywell-writtennovelsaboutFinnsandPaddysfritteringawaytheirlivesinpubsdoestheaveragebookconsumerneedtoreadinhislifetime?

PatrickMcCabecomesupwithadevilishlycleverwayroundthedilemmainhis2001novelEmeraldGermsofIreland.OpenthefirstpagesandmeetPatMcNab,a45yearoldstand-infortheauthor,drinkinganythinghecangethishandsoninSullivan'sSelectBar.Thinkyou'vereadthisonebefore?Thinkagain.

ThedifferencehereisthatPatMcNabmayormaynotbeaserialkiller.

Thenovelcontainsaseriesofmore-or-lessautonomouschapters,namedafterfolkandpopularsongs.Thefirstisentitled“WhiskeyonaSunday,”andrevealsthatMcNabprobablykilledhismother.Thatfactmakesthingsallthemoreproblematicwhenheendsup,inastateofdeepinebriation,inthehouseofoneofhismother'sfriends.Specifically,tangledupinherdrapes,thenfallingdownandbumpinghisheadonherfurniture:

TherewassomethingquiteunexpectedaboutthefigureofMrsTurbridyasitmadeitswaytowardshimthroughanundoubtedlybleary,foggeduphaze.ForamomentPatcouldnotascertainexactlywhatthenatureofthis‘unexpectedness'wasbutthen–itcametohim.

Hismother'sfriendwassmilinginamostunusualfashionandundulatingthelowerportionsofherbody.Patwasquitetakenaback….Itwasquitesomemomentsbeforethedampclothbegantosoothethepainabouthist...

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