Time to trip once more ‘the social fantastic’, as Patrick McCabe describes his distinctive fictional mode. Novels like The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto are bedded in a burlesque version of the recent Irish past, savage and comic in equal measure. Here it’s the 1960s which are both the cultural territory and shifting moral climate that shape and ultimately betray the narrator, Christopher ‘Pops’ McCool.
It is often supposed that, if the Sixties did reach small-town Ireland, it was merely as a series of rumours. It was the decade in which McCabe himself grew up (he was born in 1955), but for his protagonist it marks his defining era. Believed to be born