Ardal O'Hanlon Knick Knack Paddy Whack

ISBN 13: 9780156013536

Knick Knack Paddy Whack

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9780156013536: Knick Knack Paddy Whack

In this darkly mischievous first novel by Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, youthful rage and rebellion are up front, but far off-center-a Catcher in the Rye for the modern set.

Patrick Scully, the nineteen-year-old narrator of this brilliantly observed tale of frustrations and dreams, is stuck in a dead-end job in Dublin while his friends pursue useless degrees at the university. Needing a break from Dublin and from his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Francesca Kelly, he escapes for a weekend to his hometown where he hooks up with his childhood chum, Xavier "Balls" O'Reilly. The two of them embark on a two-day spree of drinking and depravity that comes to a sobering end when Scully returns to Francesca's empty apartment. There he finds that she, as we learn in chapters from her diary, is more interested in Balls than she would want anyone-especially Scully-to know. Laced with hilarious small-town wit, this gripping first novel builds to a shocking climax as Scully's insight into the duplicity of his so-called friends becomes more than he can bear.

Disturbingly funny, Knick Knack Paddy Whack places Ardal O'Hanlon among the best of the new breed of Irish writers.

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Review:

In the course of a single, wild weekend, the narrator of Knick Knack Paddy Whack tells us his dismal life story, and offers his opinions about practically everything. With a chip on his shoulder the size of Northern Ireland, Patrick Scully seems to loathe everyone else, too, including his family, girlfriend, and best mate. As we learn, this sworn foe of positive thinking originally hails from small-town Castlecock, where "you don't exist unless people are talking about you, good, bad, or indifferent." His account of the Scully clan--who appreciate little but a good game of football and the gory details of a neighbor's illness--makes his constant cynicism all the more comical (and explicable). It also illustrates exactly why Patrick would rather do anything than be at home:

I'd stay in the front room, switch on Radio Luxembourg on my pocket transistor and glue it to my ear.... The squealing and hissing and crackling I had to put up with sounded like someone deep-fat frying a herd of live pigs. But at the end of the day a migraine was a small price to pay for escape from the duelling harbingers of doom in the kitchen.
Having escaped Castlecock for Dublin, Patrick now works as a security guard, steals from his boss, and habitually puts away one too many pints. On its own, this disgruntled Dubliner's voice might begin to wear thin. But Ardal O'Hanlon has alternated Patrick's rants with some poignant diary entries by his girlfriend, Francesca--and these dual narratives add up to a seamless, suspenseful story, which should keep the reader unnerved to the very end. --Melissa Asher

About the Author:

Ardal O'Hanlon is an award-winning stand-up comedian and actor. Best known for the British television show Father Ted, he has also appeared in films, including The Butcher Boy. He lives in Dublin and London.

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