Declan Burke's Job search
“This is a dark tale, and it gets progressively darker as it goes along.”
“This novel is a tragedy, which takes place in a town called Sligo, a location that could be Thebes or any other place in the world where the frailties of good men and women are exploited by the eternal cynics and they become the playthings of the gods ... the hero’s every good intention or action goes wrong, and Harry Rigby reminds you at times of Job and at other times of Oedipus.”
“SLAUGHTER’S HOUND is yet another ‘How the hell does he do that?’ offering from author Declan Burke.”Not bad, eh?
Burke himself cites his debt to Horace Kallen's The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy. I have no philosophical weight to add to that considerable discussion, but I will note that Burke sustains the serious tone without abandoning the wisecracking that has been a hallmark of his previous books. And the wisecracks never clash with the prevailing seriousness. It's as if Burke had taken a cheerful musical theme, then rendered it in a minor key. And it works.
"To date we'd had nearly a feel of sunny days and mild nights, and the sunset earlier on had been a ruddy shepherd's weight. Which meant it'd be a bright, warm and beautiful morning when I told Herb his cab was a write-off, this courtesy of Finn, his flaky fuck du jour."and
"I knocked the stereo off and drove on. Shuddering from a bad case of the grace of Gods and but fors."are just two examples of the sort of balance (or reconciliation) Burke maintains between the tragic and the funny. I've read the book before, and I'm reading it again, and I say that it can't be easy for a novelist to be so in control of his material and so aware of what he wants to do that he can maintain a tone so consistently. Good job.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012