Firsts Patrick McCabe Breakfast on Pluto

ISBN 13: 9780060193409

Breakfast on Pluto

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9780060193409: Breakfast on Pluto

Patrick McCabe, already acclaimed as one of the most gifted Irish novelist writing today, is increasingly being recognized internationally as a writer of true literary stature, with an ever-growing popular readership.

Breakfast on Pluto, his lyrical and haunting new novel, became a number one bestseller in Ireland, stayed on the bestseller list for months, and was nominated for the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. It was the sole Irish novel to be so honored, and McCabe is that rare writer who has had his work twice nominated, having been previously selected in 1992 for his classic novel The Butcher Boy, which won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Irish Literature Prize, was recently released as a major motion picture, and joined Breakfast on Pluto on the Irish bestseller lists.

With wonderful delicacy and subtle insight and intimation, McCabe creates Mr. Patrick "Pussy" Braden, the enduringly and endearingly hopeful hero(ine) whose gutty survival and yearning quest for love resonate in and drive the glimmering, agonizing narrative in which the Troubles are a distant and immediate echo and refrain.

As Breakfast on Pluto opens, her ladyship, resplendent in housecoat and head scarf, reclines in Kilburn, London, writing her story for the elusive psychiatrist Dr. Terence, paring her fingernails as she reawakens the truth behind her life and the chaos of long-ago days in a city filled with hatred. Twenty years ago, she escaped her hometown of Tyreelin, Ireland, fleeing her foster mother, Whisker--prodigious Guinness-guzzler, human chimney--and her mad household (endless doorstep babas!), to begin a new life in London. There, in blousey tops and satin miniskirts, she plies her trade, often risking life and limb among the flotsam and jetsam who fill the bars of Piccadilly Circus ("You want love? That what you want, orphaned boy without a home? Then die for it! Die! Die, sweet Irish!). But suave businessmen and lonely old women are not the only dangers that threaten Pussy's existence. It is the 1970s, and fear haunts the streets of London and Belfast as the critical mass of history builds up, and Pussy is inevitably drawn into a maelstrom of violence and tragedy destined to blow his fragile soul asunder.

Brilliant, startling, profound, and soaring, Breakfast on Pluto combines lightness and darkness, laughter and pain, with such sensitivity, directness, and restraint that the dramatic impact reverberates in our minds and hearts long, long after the initial impression.

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Review:

Patrick McCabe hit pay dirt with his third novel, The Butcher Boy, which was short-listed for the 1992 Booker Prize, filmed by Neil Jordan, and acclaimed as "a masterpiece of literary ventriloquism." In his fifth, Breakfast on Pluto, also on the Booker shortlist, McCabe produces another inimitable voice to amuse and infuriate, mimicking perfectly the overwrought, near-hysterical style of a character whose emotional processes were cruelly halted somewhere around the age of 14, and whose tale requires English literature's highest concentration of exclamation marks.

Patrick "Pussy" Brady is recording her memoirs for the mysterious Dr. Terence, and it's quite some story. After randy Father Bernard gets carried away with his temporary housekeeper, a dead ringer for Mitzi Gaynor, the result is Patrick Braden, abandoned on a doorstep in a Rinso box and condemned to a foster home with the alcoholic Hairy Braden. Escape comes in fantasies of Vic Damone and the occasional glitzy frock, and eventually, inevitably, the rebaptised "Pussy" heads for life as a transvestite rent boy on Piccadilly's Meat Rack. But this is not just Pussy's story; as hitherto-muffled paramilitary violence blows up in her face, Pussy falls apart, providing a vivid and unsettling final comment on the human price paid in 1970s Ireland. --Alan Stewart

About the Author:

Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1955. He has published four other novels, Music on Clinton Street (1986), Carn (1989), The Butcher Boy (1992), and The Dead School (1995). He cowrote with director Neil Jordan the screenplay for The Butcher Boy and is finishing a collection of stories.

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