August 29th, 2019


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Alina, by Jason Johnson

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Francis M.N. Cleary is confused, but that's nothing new. By way of example, just last week, dressed in pyjamas, he walked out of the nursing home, babbling something about losing a door. Three weeks ago, for most of a day, he said he was sure he was in France, and possibly a Frenchman. He threw an onion at the communal television. Many of the staff at the nursing home can't stand him. Sometimes he's just too much work.
I picked this up back in 2011, encouraged by the front cover's description of the author as Ireland's answer to Irvine Welsh. I should not have bothered. It's a miserable book about an English chap who hires a Belfast thug to accompany him to inspect his empire of camgirls in Romania; it all goes horribly wrong. The characters are all grotesques, and there is none of the gruesomely compassionate exploration of the darkness of human character that Irvine Welsh has (at least I think he does; it's years since I read him). You can skip this. If you don't want to, you can get it here.

This was the non-genre fiction book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves, and also the shortest unread book that I acquired in 2011. Next on those piles are One of the 28th, by G.A. Henty, and Cycling in Victorian Ireland, by Brian Griffin.