The Dead Yard
For one thing, the first book's third act, a long section in which Forsythe recovers from an ordeal, regains his place in the world, and gathers the physical and emotional resources he needs to resume his adventure, is here compressed to 2 1/2 pages — or, more strictly speaking, to a single brutal and vital sentence. That leaves more room for the central narrative, and a violent narrative it is.
For another, the betrayals are more numerous, and they hit harder. This book's violence is more graphic as well. But the main difference is that The Dead Yard is more direct in its harsh judgment of a nation battered for ages by a foe of overwhelming power, sentimental about its failures, overweening in the pride at its meager successes:
"`Sorry, I don't know much about baseball, nothing actually. We don't play it in Ireland. I've only heard of Babe Ruth, oh, and Joe DiMaggio of course, because of Simon and Garfunkel, and yeah, Lou Gehrig because of the disease. Oh aye, and Yogi Berra, you know because of the cartoon.'Oh, yeah: In a moment of extreme stress, Forsythe also thinks harsh thoughts about Ireland and some of those who presume to fight for Ulster against the British.
"`What did I tell you about Yankees players?' Kit snapped, her face turning bright red ... '
"They were all Yankees? Jesus. Sorry. Who are the famous Red Sox?' I asked.
"`I don't want to talk about it now,' Kit said, still a little ticked off. Petulant and furious, she looked even more fetching.'"
Yankee fan McKinty's dig at the Boston Red Sox and their hysterical fans is the book's second-cleverest (and just maybe a metaphor). The cleverest concerns a trio of American conservative media pundits.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008