The books cover is replete with the acclaim of critics and her peers. “Already touched by greatness” “exceptional” “genius” Raymond Carver” etc. It started me thinking about the things that make a writer “great”. One thing felt wrong for me – I wasn’t sure that the writer was really consumed by the voices within the stories (and I wasn’t wholly consumed myself). They felt self-consciously like ‘great short stories’.
I couldn’t really clarify my thoughts though and I didn’t want to appear to put down a book that I had thoroughly enjoyed.
When McCabe writes about the Mohawks, a psychobilly band who win a national talent show in Limerick (like another band who went on to be an even greater success than The Mohawks and who also appear in Joey Tallon’s world) - I actually wanted to see them. I know that ‘our hero’ Joey Tallon is going to go further and further down the plughole of Irish history but I want to go there even if the journey makes me shudder a few times.
|(The other band who won a talent show in Limerick)|
I’m finishing now because I want to finish McCabe’s book. He’s a great writer, no doubt. Keegan is a very good writer (in my book) but she has a long way to go to reach the heights McCabe plays games at. And even while he is playing those games you feel that you are getting to know HIM, not how to write or what constitutes great writing.
By the way McCabe doesn’t get away without reminding me of another book – the very great Confederacy of Dunces and a quick google search shows I’m not the only one.