David Keenan’s debut novel, This is Memorial Device, was a starkly sad and often very funny exploration of Airdrie’s post-punk scene. His second, For the Good Times, drops the unsuspecting reader straight into the ‘black fucking night of 1970s Northern Ireland, the best decade what ever lived’. This apparently paradoxical statement sums up the book’s ambiguous stance towards its tableaux of relentless brutality.
The fractured narrative method employed in This is Memorial Device has given way here to something more formally coherent but no less risky or riveting. The disparate vernacular monologues of the first novel have been replaced with a single point of view, that of a young Catholic, Samuel McMahon,