Title: The Hard Life: An Exegesis of Squalor.
Publisher: McGibbon & Kee, London, UK
Publication Date: 1961
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Edition: First Edition, so stated.
First Edition, so stated. Near Fine in Near Fine DJ: Both book and DJ show only minute indications of use. Book shows no discernible wear at all, but the binding leans very slightly, while remaining perfectly secure; text clean. DJ shows a quarter-inch, closed tear at the bottom of the rear hinge and a faint wrinkle near the bottom of the front higne; very mild rubbing and faint soiling; the price is unclipped; mylar-protected. Overall, very close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 157pp. Flann O'Brien's second book. Hardback with DJ. Subtitled "An Exegesis of Squalor," The Hard Life is a sober farce from a master of Irish comic fiction. Set in Dublin at the turn of the century, the novel does involve squalor--illness, alcoholism, unemployment, bodily functions, crime, illicit sex--but also investigates such diverse topics as Church history, tightrope walking, and the pressing need for public toilets for ladies. The Hard Life is straight-faced entertainment that conceals in laughter its own devious and wicked satire by one of the best known Irish writers of the 20th century. This novel is the anti-bildungsroman bildungsroman. In the typical developmental coming-of-age novel, the characters have some great epiphany about life, the universe, God, and everything. O'Brien subverts that, however: the last line reads, "There, everything inside me came forth in a tidal surge of vomit." O'Brien's characters typically don't learn a damn thing about life, continue in their idleness, but somehow come through victorious (or near enough) in the end. For those of you who are looking beyond Joyce or Beckett, this is a more visceral and accurate portrayal of the Irishman in the days leading up to their independence. Well worth it. Bookseller Inventory # 42995
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