A dreamy male librarian whose marriage is in a rut makes startling discoveries about his life as he unravels the secrets of a suburban avenue.
A scantily-dressed girl dancing in a lighted window jolts Francis Copeland from his world of books. Francis, now approaching middleage, whose life and marriage are in a rut, fantasises about the girl and finds it hard to accept, as he discovers later, that she is Judy, a dancer in the local pub. The hidden world of the avenue unfolds to Francis. Who is Myrtle, his wife? (Does she genuinely go to bingo every Tuesday night?). He does not know her. Who are the real parents of the street kid Freddy? Who was the neighbour whose car killed Francis’ mother when Francis was twelve years old? Raw suburban truths are exposed as Francis, with the help of the local children, slowly unravels the secrets of the avenue.
‘James Lawless has a mighty thoughtful and penetrating capacity to make you gasp and rage and then burst out laughing: wheels within wheels, circles within circles, this book is very good.’
‘A work of passion and truth, which captures a moment of painful transition in the national story. If a multicultural England has drawn a map of itself in Brick Lane, so has a postmodern Ireland traced its past and present in The Avenue. James Lawless has revealed with indignation and art, yet another Hidden Ireland beyond the imaginings of our ancestors.’
‘As much a critique of social ills and suburban decay as a tale of community angst in the areas left behind by the boom… this book comes recommended.’
Julian Fleming, Sunday Business Post.
‘It was pretty page-turning and struck me as a much better portrayal of Irish life in transition from traditional to modern than many a more self-consciously reminiscent tale.’
Roslyn Fuller, Metro Éireann.
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