Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Don't mind him, Kitty. He's mad. Have a sausage."

Or, to give the full text, "Sit down or I'll throw a chair at you. Don't mind him, Kitty. He's mad. Have a sausage," and it's my favorite line from a crime novel this week.

The novel is The Assassin, the author is Liam O'Flaherty, and the subject matter is a good deal grimmer than this whimsically out-of-context example would suggest. Click here to find out why Declan Burke calls The Assassin "arguably the bravest Irish novel ever written."

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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Blogger Loren Eaton said...

That line is gold, Peter.

December 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The line portrays a bunch of dissolute but jovial characters at breakfast. It works well in the story, especially as a counterpoint to the generally grim mood. Out of context, it's even better.

December 28, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

It's almost Wodehousian. I can hear Bertie Wooster saying it.

Captcha -- ionvelea; a region of Middle Earth.

December 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, it does sound as if it could involve high-spirited cousins at a country house -- completely at odds with the rest of the action in the opening chapters, which has obsessed characters creeping around grim back streets. Maybe that's why I like the line so much.

December 28, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Thanks for the link, Peter. That was an excellent little piece by Declan Burke. Between your quote and the essay, I'll definitely have to put The Assassin on my list. I saw The Informer for the first time not all that long ago. Makes me want to watch it again,now that I have slightly more understanding of it's historical context.

December 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're welcome. It was Declan who first told me about Liam O'Flaherty and The Assassin, and the book's opening scene hooked me. It's rather stark and spare for a crime story set in 1928. Of course, Declan says either that O'Flaherty resisted being labelled a crime writer, or that the Irish literary establishment insisted instead on recognizing him as a "serious" -- and hence non-crime -- author. I forget the details.

Another detail: A particular passage near the beginning of the book struck me for its harsh meditation on the psyschology of belief and despair. Then I noticed that Declan took the working title of the collection of essays he is editing from the very next paragraph.

December 28, 2008  

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