Garbhan Downey beyond borders
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