Breakfast On Pluto: A Novel

Breakfast On Pluto: A Novel

  • Publish Date: 1999-10-06
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Patrick McCabe
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Harper Perennial
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Breakfast on Pluto, Patrick McCabe's lyrical and haunting new novel, became a #1 bestseller in Ireland, stayed on the bestseller list for months, and was nominated for the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. With wonderful delicacy and subtle insight and intimation, McCabe creates Mr. Patrick "Pussy" Braden, the enduringly and endearingly hopeful hero(ine) whose gutsy survival and yearning quest for love resonate in and drive the glimmering, agonizing narrative in which the troubles are a distant and immediate echo and refrain. Twenty years ago, her ladyship escaped her hometown of Tyreelin, Ireland, fleeing her foster mother Whiskers (prodigious Guinness-guzzler, human chimney) and her mad household, to begin a new life in London. There, in blousey tops and satin miniskirts, she plies her trade, often risking life and limb amongst the flotsam and jetsam that fill the bars of Piccadilly Circus. But suave businessmen and lonely old women are not the only dangers that threaten Pussy. It is the 1970's and fear haunts the streets of London and Belfast as the critical mass of history builds up, and Pussy is inevitably drawn into a maelstrom of violence and tragedy destined to blow his fragile soul asunder. Brilliant, startling, profound and soaring, Breakfast on Pluto combines light and dark, laughter and pain, with such sensitivity, directness and restraint that the dramatic impact reverberates in our minds and hearts long after the initial impression.

Patrick McCabe hit pay dirt with his third novel, The Butcher Boy, which was short-listed for the 1992 Booker Prize, filmed by Neil Jordan, and acclaimed as "a masterpiece of literary ventriloquism." In his fifth, Breakfast on Pluto, also on the Booker shortlist, McCabe produces another inimitable voice to amuse and infuriate, mimicking perfectly the overwrought, near-hysterical style of a character whose emotional processes were cruelly halted somewhere around the age of 14, and whose tale requires English literature's highest concentration of exclamation marks.

Patrick "Pussy" Brady is recording her memoirs for the mysterious Dr. Terence, and it's quite some story. After randy Father Bernard gets carried away with his temporary housekeeper, a dead ringer for Mitzi Gaynor, the result is Patrick Braden, abandoned on a doorstep in a Rinso box and condemned to a foster home with the alcoholic Hairy Braden. Escape comes in fantasies of Vic Damone and the occasional glitzy frock, and eventually, inevitably, the rebaptised "Pussy" heads for life as a transvestite rent boy on Piccadilly's Meat Rack. But this is not just Pussy's story; as hitherto-muffled paramilitary violence blows up in her face, Pussy falls apart, providing a vivid and unsettling final comment on the human price paid in 1970s Ireland. --Alan Stewart

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