by Sam Coll - £16.95 The Lilliput Press Ltd (2016)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781843516637 | ISBN 10: 1843516632
'We Irish are a shallow people, albeit perversely fair perhaps, as cruel to others as to ourselves, treasuring the unconsummated and the failed, making shallow friendships founded on fatuous fun that runs so cold in the bitter end, backbiting and bitching and kicking our enemies when they are down, snide wiseguys who refuse to acknowledge the depths, emotional retards embarrassed by awkward topics away from which we shy, making nothing but a mess of our feelings, those horrid truths we would prefer to edit than be undone, to find the latent fun embedded in the torment, and make lukewarm comedies from the hash of our life’s little disasters.’
The Abode of Fancy is a wildly imaginative addition to the enduring legacy of Irish comic literature, in the spirit of Jonathan Swift, James Stephens and Flann O’Brien. Cosmic and intimate, sentimental and acerbic, harebrained and profound, it is a masterpiece of invention.
Heartbreaking and hilarious, Coll’s novel fuses reality and fantasy in an extraordinary narrative. This astonishing mosaic of characters and images, of memories and prophecies, propels the reader into a world that reaches far beyond the printed page.
In modern-day Dublin, Simeon, a melancholy student, is tormented by unrequited love, jealousy and loneliness. He seeks solace in the company of his father’s friends, a disparate group of world-weary alcoholics, and through them glimpses a grim picture of his own probable future life.
A parallel tale follows mythical man-god The Mad Monk on his return to Ireland, seeking out the ghost of his long dead brother. As these two worlds intertwine, the author delivers a powerful meditation on the impossibility of love and the consolations of friendship.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2017)
In booklists: Fiction - Irish Writers (and novels set in Ireland), Writers by Surname - C, In categories: Fiction, Ireland, Scotland & Wales,