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The Butcher Boy

4.1 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (Oct. 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671512277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671512279
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

"I was thinking how right ma was -- Mrs. Nugent all smiles when she met us and how are you getting on Mrs and young Francis are you both well? . . .what she was really saying was: Ah hello Mrs Pig how are you and look Philip do you see what's coming now -- The Pig Family!"

This is a precisely crafted, often lyrical, portrait of the descent into madness of a young killer in small-town Ireland. "Imagine Huck Finn crossed with Charlie Starkweather," said The Washington Post. Short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award and England's prestigious Booker Prize. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Francie Brady is a disaffected, working-class, Roman Catholic teenager living in Northern Ireland. His alcoholic father works in the local slaughterhouse and his mother, despite being a whir of household efficiency, is suicidal. The latest phase of the "troubles" in Ireland have not yet formally begun--it is the early '60s--but Francie is nonetheless caught in a cycle of pride, envy and poverty aggravated by the ancient conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The book opens with Francie remembering: "When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were after me on account of what I done on Mrs Nugent." By its end, young Francie has dispatched Mrs Nugent and earned his eponymous nickname. The Nugents, a prosperous Protestant family, have it all, in Francie's eyes: their son Philip goes to private school and takes music lessons; their home is carpeted and the telly works. Francie begins by playing pranks on the family--swindling Philip out of his comic books, defecating in their house when they are away. But when he bludgeons Philip's brother in a fight, Francie loses his closest friend, who then befriends the Nugent family. Then the violence escalates. Deservedly, Butcher Boy won the 1992 Irish Times -Aer Lingus Award and was shortlisted for Britain's 1992 Booker Prize. McCabe's Francie speaks in a rich vernacular spirited by the brassy and endearing rhythms of perpetual delinquency; even in his gradual unhinging, Francie remains a winning raconteur. By looking so deeply into Francie's soul, McCabe ( Music on Clinton Street ) subtly sugggests a common source for political and personal violence--lack of love and hope. Major ad/promo; ABA appearance.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Set is a rural Irish town in the early 1960s, The Butcher Boy is a beautiful and disturbing novel that tells the tale of "the incredible Francie Brady," a lonely Irish teenager who has, at best, a tenuous grasp on reality.
A series of crushing personal loses, are causing Francie to slowly descend into madness, into the world of the true psychopath. In an irrational attempt to fix blame on someone for the cruelties which have befallen him, Francie makes a local woman, Mrs. Nugent, the target of his scathing and sardonic wit, his growing anger, and finally, his shocking violence. This is a tale of the surrealistic space that lies between sanity and insanity and Francie is the mythical changeling.
Despite its exceptionally depressing subject matter, The Butcher Boy is darkly comic and Francie's resilient, callous and savage first-person narrative, devoid of much traditional punctuation, impels the reader at a breakneck speed. Francie gives nicknames to people, places and things and speaks in his own brand of Irish slang. The book is a little claustrophobic in feel because we observe Francie's descent into madness from the inside, without realizing that we are going there. We unwittingly embrace his warped point of view and are able to sympathize with him and weep for him even though we absolutely cannot condone what he does. It's a rather hallucinatory novel, a patchwork-quilt of B-movie aliens, comic strip logic and even visions of the Virgin Mary. It's a wild ride between sentimentality and the Grand Guignol; a place where real and rational explanations of the world simply aren't good enough.
Although this is an Irish novel, you won't find any politics in this book. The Butcher Boy is set in a distant, apolitical Ireland of the past, all to the good.
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Format: Paperback
I hated this book with a passion. As an avid reader of crime fiction and great literature, I had heard about The Butcher Boy and was anxious to read it. I wish I could get a refund. It is a dark, depressing book which is to be expected considering the subject matter: a young boy slipping into dementia. A few other readers commented that they stayed with the book, interested, for about 100 pages. That's about the same with me, but everything goes downhill quickly. I applaud McCabe's manner of showing us how Francie loses his grip on reality. But, 200 plus pages of a potty-mouthed, insane boy's stream of consciousness ramblings is enough to cause the reader to join Francie in the looney bin.
All I could think about when I reading it was that the book was written for attention, maybe to shock, maybe to put a feather in the author's cap. Whatever. I could see the book on the reading list for a college English course, but I got no enjoyment out of it as a booklover and casual, not scholarly, reader. Having read William Faulkner and his love of stream of consciousness and run-on sentences (Sound and the Fury), I was prepared to have to work to finish this book. But, should anyone really have work so hard to complete a book?
I guess to put a final nail in the coffin, I was surprised at all the comments that this was a hilarious book. Reader reviews and newspaper/magazine reviews all proclaim this book as amusing or as one puts it "screamingly funny." I found nothing at all funny in the book. Maybe a line here or there was funny, but knowing that these thoughts and actions were coming from a rapidly-forming sociopath made it very hard for me to even crack a smile reading this book. Especially considering the sociopath in question is a young boy.
Sorry for the angry review but, once again, I have bought a book with very high expectations and have found myself sorely and sadly disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Patrick McCabe had already attracted media attention before the release of this book, but the release of "The Butcher Boy" marks the period when North American audiences finally sat up and took note of this new Dickens. And that's exactly what McCabe reminds me of- Dickens, with some twists of course. The basic premise of "The Bucher Boy" sounds simple enough- a young boy named Francie Brady gives a first person account of his disturbed childhood (a childhood finally leading to murder). But this book is FAR from average or simple. Written in a type of blissful free association (you'll see what I mean when you pick it up- the sentences run into each other in a refreshing volume of frenzy) that makes the complicated plot even more eerie, the voice and presence and menace of Francie (the pig boy) become unavoidable. I was alternately scared of and for Francie, unsure whether to loathe or pity him. Maybe both.
One of the most original works of fiction to come along in decades!
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Format: Paperback
Francie Brady has got to be one of the most memorable characters to come out of any novel in the past ten years. His story of loss and insanity has more to do with social apathy on the part of his environment, which makes him altogether that much more sympathetic. You can't blame him for the things he does, as each act no matter how surprising or atrocious is a direct consequence for a wrong done to him. So whether it's stealing comic books or making a pig out of mean old Mrs. Nugent you'll find yourself laughing at Mr. Francie Brady Not A Bad Bastard Anymore. The flow of this novel is the only difficult part, as it is very much like being dropped into a young boy's stream of consciousness. A lack of punctuation throughout was a brilliant tactic by Mr. McCabe to illustrate the rationalization of the insanity that first surrounds young Francie Brady and then eventually engulfs him. A thought provoking tale on the importance of a stable upbringing and a solid establishment of reality for children. This novel was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and was made into a fine film by Neil Jordan(The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire). A solid investment for fans of compelling literature and a billion, trillion Flash bars.
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