Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, a Galway institution. I was there for a reading, but I couldn't quite resist this book. So far, it's the only one I bought there. Let's hope I can keep to that.
Most people will know Flann O'Brien [true name Brian O'Nolan] from At Swim-Two-Birds or The Third Policeman, acknowledged comic classics. The Best of Myles collects the "Cruiskeen Lawn" columns he wrote as Myles na gCopaleen in the Irish Times. Yes, a lot of pseudonyms, eh? No wonder I love him.
was reading this on the bus to Shannon airport last week and giggling
in my seat, doubtless disturbing the poor woman next to me who thought I
was some kind of lunatic. Ahem.
O'Brien maintains a
tone of daft reasonableness whether he's plotting to take over the Irish
Writers, Actors, Artists and Musicians Association (rebuffed in his
offer to take charge, he first finds fault with all they do, then
decides to form a rival splinter group), suggesting dialogue at the
Abbey Theatre be printed as banners and hung above the stage so audience
members can read ahead to catch their buses on time, or developing
get-rich-quick schemes like his Beard Food (accompanied with appropriate
sketches of the wonders it will provoke). He relates many adventures of
"the brother" -- a schemer of the first order who nonetheless seems to garner a grudging respect from many despite his high-handed ways.
He addresses "the Plain People of Ireland" often -- and
offers their suspicious views of his meanderings. No surprise as he
invents business schemes of dubious execution: artisans who will give
wealthy stupid people's books the impression of having been read, with
increasing fees depending on the amount of wear and the addition of
pithy ripostes or citations annotated on the pages, or ventriloquist
dates to accompany the not very bright and provide their half of the
sparkling conversations. The Plain people are inclined to interrupt with
corrections of his spelling or signs of impatience when his
self-glorifying goes on too long.
Among his vaunted skills are the accompanying drawings
illustrating various points. The drawings are wonderful as well,
offering valuable visual advice such as how to carry your drunken friend
who has collapsed or how to cross a river without getting your top hat
wet. Valuable advice indeed.
See the full list of books over at Patti Abbott's blog.
did go to the reading last night and read my new poem because Kevin was
soft-hearted enough to squeeze me in at the end. It seemed to go over
well. I tagged along to the pub afterward and it was great to have a
chance to get to know people a little more. Quite a community of writers