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Sad Bastard [Paperback]

Hugo Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Paperback CDN $25.50  
Paperback, July 21 1999 --  

Book Description

July 21 1999
"Coyne's son, destined to be another "headbanger", like his father, is the prime suspect when a dead body washes up on the docks. Coyne's estranged wife holds him responsible and it's up to him to sort things out--and put the whole world to rights at the same time if he can manage it ... Funny, neatly observed and unusually warming"
-- Time Out

"Coyne is a great fictional original, with his hatred of the garish aspects of the "new Ireland", his bizarre obsessions, his quixotic compulsion to do something useless; if you don't feel to some degree that he's a kindred spirit, you're probably excessively normal. There are serious and melancholy undercurrents here, but Sad Bastard is still the funniest Irish novel for a long time"
--Sunday Independent

"From the moment when Coyne opened his mouth to deliver some oracular pronouncement or other on "Irishness" it became clear that here was a terrific creation: volatile, ruminative, uxorious, a kind of Clint Eastwood-style avenger with a mission ... There was a precise, filmic quality to Headbanger's incidental detail and stage directions ... Its sequel follows a similar path. Sharp writing abounds ... this is splendid stuff"
--Literary Review

"The writing is very fine throughout the book ... the sense of place and the dynamics of these little lives are wonderfully vivid"
--Independent on Sunday

"Sad Bastard... makes strong play with character and local mood in a rock solid thriller structure ... Hamilton knows his business"
--Sunday Times


Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The eponymous antihero of Hamilton's sequel to Headbanger is once again Pat Coyne, a down-and-out Dublin police officer given to paranoid rantings and delusions of grandeur: "He shouted at the radio, railing against corruption as if it affected him personally. Every change in his country, every sign of progress was an assault on his persona." It hasn't been a good year for Coyne: he has been out of work since an injury during a traumatic fire; he's separated from his wife, Carmel, a New Age healer whose affections he desperately wants to win back; and his son, Jimmy, a young man with "a vocation for pure mayhem," is still living with him. Out on a bender one evening, Jimmy inadvertently steals a bag of money from thug Mongi O Doherty, who then kills Coyne's friend Tommy Nolan when he happens upon the scene. Jimmy becomes a suspect in Tommy's murder, but even worse, he's got Mongi on his tail. Plenty of other characters are thrown into the mix, including the bothersome Sergeant Corrigan, who is investigating the murder; Ms. Dunford, Coyne's platitude-spouting therapist; and Corina, a Romanian woman who owes Mongi money and is befriended by Coyne after she is caught shoplifting. For all Coyne's bluster, there is something sad and vulnerable about him; he is reminiscent of a (slightly) more well-adjusted Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, as Roddy Doyle might have imagined him. There are plenty of hilarious scenes in this short novel, and Hamilton ties them together skillfully, but audiences will have more fun tracking Coyne's various tribulations if they first read Headbanger, released in the States earlier this year.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sad at all! May 20 2000
Format:Paperback
Hugo Hamilton writes with an excellent style. There's plenty of characters in this book, all of them fairly interesting and well-explained. The book reads well, and the overall arc of the plot is like several episodes of a soap-opera. My only complaint is that speech from characters wasn't quoted in quotation marks, it was hyphenated like this:
-Well, that's a nice necklace you're wearing.
But it was fairly funny in places. There's so much going on and it's all so original and well-detailed.
Well done, Hugo.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sad at all! May 20 2000
By Jeremy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hugo Hamilton writes with an excellent style. There's plenty of characters in this book, all of them fairly interesting and well-explained. The book reads well, and the overall arc of the plot is like several episodes of a soap-opera. My only complaint is that speech from characters wasn't quoted in quotation marks, it was hyphenated like this:
-Well, that's a nice necklace you're wearing.
But it was fairly funny in places. There's so much going on and it's all so original and well-detailed.
Well done, Hugo.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Man March 18 2004
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
This book picks up the story of middle-aged Dublin policeman Pay Coyne, who was introduced in Hamilton's book Headbanger. In that earlier tale, Coyne turned from a misunderstood family man into a one man crimebuster, a la Dirty Harry. This book finds him separated from his new-age healer wife, and living in a dingy apartment, wrestling with depression and what sounds like post-traumatic stress following his disability after a quixotic attempt to rescue someone from a fire. Much of his time is spent staring into beers down at a dockside pub, one of the few places he can stand to be around other people. That's where a meager plot develops, revolving around a local thug's scheme of smuggling Eastern Europeans into the country illegally in a fishing vessel. This leads to a murder, a bag of missing cash, and trouble for Cone's wild teenage son. Meanwhile, as in Headbanger, he discovers a young woman who needs protecting-here an inept Romanian shoplifter. None of this is particularly gripping, however. It feels somewhat forced, as if Hamilton knew he needed to have some kind of story to keep readers interested. 'Cause the emphasis seems to be on Coyne's disgust with modern Ireland, as he rants over and over about how awful it all is. He takes on somewhat of the air of a mad prophet in all this, lurching around town, pining for his wife and family. While it's not your average picture of Dublin, it's not a very compelling read either.
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