Michael Curtin’s fifth novel is as brilliantly plotted as ever with characters of bizarre charm and wisdom. But a seam of tragedy runs just below its surface. It is the tale of a local hero, a man determined to bring joy to the downcast, to teach the world, in spite of everything, to SING.
Toots Books, the alias of James Imbusch, is plagued by an irrepressible friend, Jack Droney. Droney wants the world to sing, so much so that he has written the word upsidedown on his naked backside in order that he can read it in the mirror with his head between his legs. Should he find himself so. When Droney begins to behave even more oddly than usual however, with the suggestion that he is going to fall very foul of the law, the members of a coffee circle that includes Toots determine to stage an old-fashioned variety concert by way of distraction. To bring him out of himself, to allow him to tell the world to sing. With a delightfully controlled comic plot and easy banter, Michael Curtin tricks the reader so that the novel’s darker purpose almost escapes notice. With this book he fully justifies Roddy Doyle’s long-standing support and his reputation as the quiet genius of Irish writing.