Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Garbhan Downey beyond borders

I owe my presence in the United States to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and former Representative Brian J. Donnelly, both of Massachusetts. More than twenty years ago, they sponsored legislation to let 30,000 people a year obtain permanent residency ("green cards") in the U.S. under relaxed requirements.

The 30,000 places were allotted by nation, ranging, if memory serves, from 9,000 from Ireland and 4,000 from Canada down through smaller numbers from other countries and territories.

Since the four annual incomers from New Caledonia were far less likely than the 9,000 from Ireland eventually to swell the voting rolls of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, I am predisposed toward fond sympathy with Garbhan Downey's upcoming novel, War of the Blue Roses. As the novel opens, the (fictional) Irish taoiseach, or premier, chides the (fictional) U.S. president for overstating his (the president's) Irish ancestry. "Don't knock it," the president replies. "It was enough to get me elected." Irishness has a powerful political presence in America, and Downey gleefully follows his cast of politicians, gangsters and hangers-on to the U.S. and Canada for significant chunks of the new book.

The subject is roses – specifically a competition to design a peace garden for the White House – and if you think gardening is a clean pursuit, this book will shock you. Downey brings back some of the characters from his previous books, tough, savvy, engaging and, in some cases, unscrupulous folks from Ireland north and south, and he throws in Americans and Englishmen this time. These last give Downey fresh new satirical targets.

Pre-publication etiquette forbids my saying much more. And what does the future hold for Downey? Massive international success, perhaps, and adaptations of his work into comic operas. Is Mozart still working?

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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10 Comments:

Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Hell, yeah, I'm looking forward to this one. I'm counted among the select few who've landed a copy. Who says this blogging lark is thankless, eh?

Nice post, by the way.

Cheers

Gerard

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I might even hoist a pint or two with G. Downey next month. Blogging is hell.

And thanks.

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Next month? You coming to our fair shores again? I knew you were thinking about it. Didn't know you'd decided on it.

gb

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, in recent days I've been leaning toward making a side trip to N.I. from CrimeFest in Bristol. I may give Ryanair a chance to prove it treats its passengers as badly as its reputation suggests. I'll be in touch with details.

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Brilliant!

gb

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've already written to Dave Torrans about getting copies of Mystery Man and, when it's available, The Twelve, though I admit being partial to that book's previous title, The Ghosts of Belfast.

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Janet Rudolph said...

I really enjoy the new breed of Irish mystery writers, and I can't wait to read Downey's War of the Blue Roses on two accounts. First that it's written by Downey, and second that I'm putting together a list of mysteries that center on roses. I imagine War of the Blue Roses is quite prickly. All the better.

April 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Janet, you'll like this one, then. I know nothing about gardening, but the technical material about botany is fascinating. The book is not all politics, laughs and murder.

April 23, 2009  
Blogger 2KoP said...

We know a bit about Irish politicos here in Illinois: Mayors Daley, Governor Quinn. This book looks like a lot of fun. I can't wait to read it.

July 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As I mentioned in a previous post about Garbhan Downey, I owe my presence in this country to Irish politicians, though not crooked ones.

I do think that Downey's books could serve as useful and highly entertaining adjunct reading to a course about recent Irish history and politics.

July 04, 2009  

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