Call Me the Breeze [NOOK Book]

Overview

With T. S. Eliot's words as his guide, Joey Tallon embarks on a journey toward enlightenment in the troubling psychedelic-gone-wrong atmosphere of the late 1970s. A man deranged by desire, and longing for belonging, Tallon searches for his"place of peace" -- a spiritual landscape located somewhere between his small town in Northern Ireland and Iowa ... and maybe between heaven and hell.

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Call Me the Breeze

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Overview

With T. S. Eliot's words as his guide, Joey Tallon embarks on a journey toward enlightenment in the troubling psychedelic-gone-wrong atmosphere of the late 1970s. A man deranged by desire, and longing for belonging, Tallon searches for his"place of peace" -- a spiritual landscape located somewhere between his small town in Northern Ireland and Iowa ... and maybe between heaven and hell.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McCabe's deliciously warped wit is razor-sharp as ever in his latest book (titled after an old J.J. Cale song), which reads alternately like an acid-induced reverie and the na ve ramblings of a man trapped between art and reality. Charged with kidnapping and assault, Joey Tallon is sentenced to do time in Mountjoy prison (or "The Joy," as it is ironically called), a fate not much worse than staying in his cramped trailer in Scotsfield, a small border town plagued by violence in 1970s Northern Ireland. While locked up, Joey takes to reading and becomes a founding member of the prison's first literary society. While some of the convicts take a stab at poetry, Joey keeps a diary, which he later reads, "secretly hoping to stumble upon a novel." Newly obsessed with outlandish film projects after his release and still eager to publish a novel, Joey becomes delusional, seeking (unsuccessfully) to involve pop icons like Joni Mitchell, Madonna and Bono in his artistic endeavors and setting himself up as the laughingstock of Scotsfield. Under the spell of his misguided optimism, Joey unwittingly reveals too many secrets about events related to the Troubles, many of which point to the sinister politician Boyle Henry and his minions. Joey has his own share of skeletons in the closet, including some positively Oedipal encounters with a blow-up doll named for his father's long-dead mistress. His creative efforts bury him deeper in a world of illusion, and he continues to pine for his muse, the lovely Jacy, a local girl who may just be a figment of his imagination. McCabe (author of Booker Prize finalists The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto) deftly patches together episodes of Joey's peculiar life using diary excerpts as well as letters and notes from film shoots, yet turns the traditional epistolary novel on its head. What results is the bone-chilling account of a would-be writer who collides with fiction because he takes it too seriously. McCabe is happily not at risk of doing the same, allowing his trademark humor and crafty Irish colloquialisms to leaven even the darkest of scenes. (Dec. 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
McCabe (The Butcher's Boy), a two-time Booker Prize nominee, returns with this darkly comedic novel of the complicated life of Irish-born Joey Tallon. The story follows Joey's emergence into self-discovery and ultimate redemption after dealing with the early loss of his parents, the magical temptations of drugs, and his discovery (during a prison stint) of an innate, if peculiar, ability to record his thoughts. Also chronicled are Joey's awe at first seeing Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver and his introduction to Allen Ginsberg and Hermann Hesse. Ranging from the turbulent political struggles of 1970s Ireland through today, Joey's story is played out against real governmental violence. Woven throughout is a ragtag caravan of characters who engage and affect the protagonist in some way. Some readers may find the novel difficult, as the text is presented in fragments, scripts, and memories that may not always be exactly true. Joey also occasionally contradicts himself when he moves between himself as a young man and as an adult. Nevertheless, fans of McCabe will be engrossed, and those new to him will be rewarded if they persevere. Recommended for most public libraries with large adult fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/03.]-Christopher Korenowsky, Columbus, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McCabe (Emerald Germs of Ireland, 2001, etc.) slips a bit deeper into the Slough of Despond with his latest account of madness, squalor, violence, perversity, and hope in the north of Ireland. A tale by the celebrated Irish author is a harrowing experience usually redeemed by the brilliance of the story, but it will generally leave you feeling pretty drained. Here, again, we are introduced to a collection of Faulknerian monsters trapped within the borderland that separates Ireland from Northern Ireland during the troubled days of the 1970s and '80s. The narrator is Joey Tallon, a kind of Celtic hippie who works in a pub, reads Herman Hesse and St. John of the Cross, smokes copious amounts of marijuana, and tries to keep out of mischief. The latter is easier said than done when half of your neighbors belong to the IRA and the other half pretend to, but Joey is a genial and unambitious lad without strong political views. Secretly in love with a mysterious American girl named Jaci, he contrasts the daily comings and goings of his friends and townsmen with the weird inner world of his own imagination and longing. His hometown of Scotsfield is ominously ordinary and suffering badly from the Troubles, a place where the parish priest's overtures toward reconciliation are met with contempt from both Catholics and Protestants, and where the town councilors are more likely concerned with money laundering than property taxes. After a local detective is murdered, Joey is arrested and sent to prison in Dublin, where he begins keeping a journal and emerges, years later, as a celebrated writer. Although his fate is meant to be hopeful, his impossibly tangled narration and the overall tone of moralsqualor overwhelm everything with an impenetrable gloom. By turns fascinating, repulsive, heartbreaking, and unreadable: probably the greatest mess McCabe has published to date.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062030191
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1955. His other novels include The Butcher Boy, The Dead School, and Call Me the Breeze. With director Neil Jordan, he co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of The Butcher Boy.

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First Chapter

Call Me the Breeze
A Novel

Chapter One

The End ...

... is the beginning -- that's what the ancients say. Well, we'll see. But first of all I want to get the rest of this stuff out of the way and leave it exactly as I found it for Bonehead.

'You can't be a famous writer and go throwing your papers around you like that,' he says.

And he's right, I guess. But he might as well be talking to the wall. I've always been that way. As soon as I was finished writing anything, I'd just shove it into a bag.

A Leatherette Holdall ...

... to be precise. That's where he found nearly all of the material. 'Give me that!' he says. 'Till I put some order on it once and for all!'

So I did. 'There you are!' I says. 'It's all yours, Bone! You can do what you like with it, for all the difference it makes to me!'

He spent about a month on it, beavering away in his room. When he was finished, he presented it to me: 'The magnificent Joey Tallon Archibe!' he says.

But there could be no doubt about it -- he really had done a terrific job. In place of the leatherette holdall, a neat little stack of marbled box files containing all my notebooks and ledgers.

I've had a really good time going through it. And if I was any kind of writer at all, I'd have made something worthwhile out of it, instead of just sitting here rambling half the night, filling up pages with discursive nonsense. I mean, it's not as if enough didn't happen!

Particularly during the seventies, when the old leatherette holdall found itself very much favoured -- particularly by anonymous men who had a predilection for leaving it behind them in crowded public houses.

Campbell Morris

Although somehow you always felt that in a small border town like Scotsfield nothing serious would ever really happen. That most of what you heard was talk and would never amount to anything much.

But that was before the 'Campbell Morris Incident'. Campbell was a salesman who happened to drop by for the Lady of the Lake festival but ended up getting himself killed. It's impossible to say who started the rumours about him.

Either way it ended with him being pulled out of the reservoir and the cops going apeshit, raiding pubs. It wasn't my business. I was too busy getting on with my life, pulling pints and thinking about Jacy. She was all I ever thought about in those days.

'He was a fucking spy! And that's it!' you'd hear them shouting late at night, full of guilt over what they had done. There had been six or seven of them involved, I think.

'How about we go out to The Ritzy?' they'd said, as the salesman drunkenly grinned. 'You'll see things out there that you'd never come across in Dublin or London.'

It was a ruse, to get him on his own. They used to show all these blue movies in a barn way out the country. They had dubbed it 'The Ritzy' and for a tenner you could watch the films and drink all you wanted. There was talk of Boyle Henry and the Provos being involved in its operation, but you'd never say that openly. 'I couldn't tell you anything about The Ritzy' was what you said if you were asked. 'I know nothing at all about any of that' -- that's what you were expected to say.

And did, if you had any sense.

The 'blues', as they called them, were very popular. Bennett had always liked them. 'The best of crack,' he used to say. 'I always make sure to go out every Saturday.' But not any more.

After the salesman's funeral, Bennett had driven out to the reservoir and sat there for a couple of hours thinking about it all, and his part in it, I guess. He was discovered there a few hours later, slumped over the dash and poisoned with carbon monoxide.

Whenever I heard things like that back in those days, my reaction would always be the same: finish up my work, head straight home to fall into Mona's arms.

I used to tell her everything. The only other person I had ever talked to in that kind of way was Eamon Byrne, The Seeker. We had been at school together but he'd gone off to travel the world. I used to love seeing him coming into Austie's with the big long beard and the hair flying around his shoulders. Especially when you knew the reaction he was going to get. He always wore this hooded brown robe, the djellaba, and knew that it drove them crazy. He'd sit at the bar and roll himself a joint, without, it seemed, a care in the world. Then the two of us would just sit there, rapping for ages, about Dylan and Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan) and Santana, the band. He was a big fan of their album Abraxas and had brought me home a tape of it. I used to put on 'Oye Como Va' and 'Singing Winds/Crying Beasts' in the pub just to drive Austie wild. 'Fucking jungle music!' he called it, flicking his dishcloth and kicking crates.

The Seeker (he took his name from a song by The Who) was living in a squat in Peckham and working on an adventure playground. Just listening to him there, you'd be kind of hypnotized.

'Did you ever read T. S. Eliot?' he said to me one day, and I had to admit that I hadn't. To be perfectly honest, up to that point I hadn't read much of anything. I'd read sweet fuck all, to tell you the God's honest truth. Not since Just William, Biggles and shit ...

Call Me the Breeze
A Novel
. Copyright © by Patrick McCabe. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Introduction

In a small town in Northern Ireland, in the troubling psychedelic-gone-wrong atmosphere of the late seventies, Joey Tallon embarks on a journey of selfhood, redemption, and rebirth. A man deranged by desire, and longing for belonging, Tallon searches for his "place of peace" -- a spiritual landscape located somewhere between Ireland and Iowa, and maybe between heaven and hell.

Following the hopelessly delusional, but also hopelessly likable Tallon on his quest, readers unwittingly enter a world constructed by a character who is more lucid during his acid trips than when he's sober. What begins as a baffling mystery in McCabe's hands becomes a raucous and ribald adventure. Joey's journey toward enlightenment takes readers into the innermost heart of a man at odds with himself and the violent, sometimes surreal world around him.

Topics for Discussion

  1. What is Joey Tallon looking for? Does he find it?
  2. To what extent is Call Me the Breeze satire? Is McCabe satirizing himself?

About the Author

Patrick McCabe is an internationally renowned literary novelist born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. He has published six other novels, Music on Clinton Street, Carn, The Butcher Boy, The Dead School, Breakfast on Pluto, and Mondo Desperado: A Serial Novel. The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto were both finalists for the Booker Prize and are both being turned into screenplays to be co-written by McCabe and director, Neil Jordan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    Hunting And Training!

    On this island, it snows year round. There are cardinals, squirrels, and other winter animals living here. FrostClan cats also collect berries to eat and to use for herbs.

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