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The Butcher Boy
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About the Author

Patrick McCabe was born in Ireland in 1955. His novels include Music on Clinton Street, Carn, The Butcher Boy, and Breakfast on Pluto. The latter two were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Butcher Boy won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Literature Prize in 1992 and was made into a film, directed by Neil Jordan, in 1997. The film Breakfast on Pluto, also directed by and co-written with Neil Jordan, was released in 2006 to great acclaim. His play Frank Pig Says Hello was published by Methuen Drama in Far From the Land: New Irish Plays in 1998. Patrick McCabe lives in his home town of Clones, County Monaghan.

Reviews

Francie Brady is a disaffected, working-class, Roman Catholic teenager living in Northern Ireland. His alcoholic father works in the local slaughterhouse and his mother, despite being a whir of household efficiency, is suicidal. The latest phase of the ``troubles'' in Ireland have not yet formally begun--it is the early '60s--but Francie is nonetheless caught in a cycle of pride, envy and poverty aggravated by the ancient conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The book opens with Francie remembering: ``When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were after me on account of what I done on Mrs Nugent.'' By its end, young Francie has dispatched Mrs Nugent and earned his eponymous nickname. The Nugents, a prosperous Protestant family, have it all, in Francie's eyes: their son Philip goes to private school and takes music lessons; their home is carpeted and the telly works. Francie begins by playing pranks on the family--swindling Philip out of his comic books, defecating in their house when they are away. But when he bludgeons Philip's brother in a fight, Francie loses his closest friend, who then befriends the Nugent family. Then the violence escalates. Deservedly, Butcher Boy won the 1992 Irish Times -Aer Lingus Award and was shortlisted for Britain's 1992 Booker Prize. McCabe's Francie speaks in a rich vernacular spirited by the brassy and endearing rhythms of perpetual delinquency; even in his gradual unhinging, Francie remains a winning raconteur. By looking so deeply into Francie's soul, McCabe ( Music on Clinton Street ) subtly sugggests a common source for political and personal violence--lack of love and hope. Major ad/promo; ABA appearance. (May)

Young Francie Brady's father is a bitter alcoholic; her mentally ill mother, who spends hours staring at the ashes in the fireplace, eventually commits suicide. When Francie is sent to a reform school, he is molested by a priest. Then Francie murders a local woman with a pistol. Collectively, the events in this novel are sad and horrific. However, in author McCabe's deft use of Irish vernacular and incidental humor, Francie comes off as innocent as Huck Finn and just as funny. The Butcher Boy is a phenomenal novel; it is much less pretentious and better written than the book that everyone was talking about in 1993: E. Annie Proulx's multiple-award-winning The Shipping News. This abridged recording flatters the text; although the standard abridgment process calls for eliminating broad passages from the original, here the editor seems to have excised a sentence here, a sentence there. The result is a seamless narrative flow. McCabe reads his own material flawlessly. You won't want to miss this audiobook. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"

Shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize.

Winner of the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Literature Prize for Fiction. "An almost perfect novel...A Beckett monologue with plot by Alfred Hitchcock...Startlingly original."
--The Washington Post Book World "Stunning...part Huck Finn, part Holden Caufield, part Hannibal Lecter."
--The New York Times Book Review "Brilliant, unique. Patrick McCabe pushes your head through the book and you come out the other end gasping, admiring, and knowing that reading fiction will never be the same again. It's the best Irish novel I've read in years."
--Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha "A chilling tale of a child's hell...often screamingly funny...the book has a compelling and terrible beauty."
--The Boston Globe "Lyrical and disturbing, horrific and hilarious."
--The New York Times "Patrick McCabe is an outstanding writer. The Butcher Boy is fearful, original, compelling and very hard to put out of your mind. American readers should pay close attention to this man."
--Thomas McGuane

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