Owen McBride stands with his feet in two worlds. Is he a 'Traveller' ? the ancient class of proud but downtrodden wayward gypsies living on the side of the road ? or a 'Gorgio' ? an average citizen with middle-class aspirations, clean fingernails, and no fear of the law. His marriage-minded Gorgio girlfriend wants to drag him into the settled post-millennium mainstream euro-life, with apartment, car, tie, and job. But that?s no place for a half-breed gypsy like him. But he doesn?t feel quite at home on the waste ...
Owen McBride stands with his feet in two worlds. Is he a 'Traveller' — the ancient class of proud but downtrodden wayward gypsies living on the side of the road — or a 'Gorgio' — an average citizen with middle-class aspirations, clean fingernails, and no fear of the law. His marriage-minded Gorgio girlfriend wants to drag him into the settled post-millennium mainstream euro-life, with apartment, car, tie, and job. But that’s no place for a half-breed gypsy like him. But he doesn’t feel quite at home on the waste ground out past the edge of town eating roast hedgehog either. Every time Owen tries to make a decision on how to live his life, circumstance intercedes and sends his life further into chaos.
A young British man struggles to overcome the legacy of his lineage in McDonald's inventive but problematic debut. In a futuristic Manchester, England, 28-year-old Owen McBride is trying to reconcile himself to the trappings of middle-class life. At first glance, McBride's problem seems simple enough his girlfriend, Ann, a computer programmer, is more than willing to support them while he gets his troubled career as a metal worker back in gear. The real issue, though, is McBride's fondness for his rough-and-tumble lifestyle with the thuggish O'Connell, in which the two buddies conduct an ongoing celebration of their common origins as "Travellers," an ancient, itinerant class of Gypsies. McBride's involvement with his friend turns into a genuine crisis when O'Connell's role in a local burglary lands him in trouble with a violent gangster. When O'Connell is murdered, McBride feels the need to avenge his death. McDonald pens some effective chapters in the early going, employing a Clockwork Orange-style Gypsy slang (and including a glossary) that gives the opening material a lurid, menacing tone. But the story degenerates into a series of brawling, boozy scenes in which the two friends careen from one calamity to the next, observed or aided by willing, attractive women. McDonald shows talent in the action sequences, but this is a formulaic book about a conflicted young man trying to come to terms with his background, which, for all the flashiness, fails to paint a unique picture of either disenfranchisement or self-determination. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
About the Author: John F. McDonald was born and educated in Carlow, Southern Ireland, and later moved to London. His diverse working life has included being a barman, a bouncer, a gym instructor, an analyst in the City of London, and, working with Travellers and their horses. McDonald began his writing career as a playwright, with his work produced in London and Paris. Graduating to television he has worked with the innovative UK television network 'Channel 4'. Published in Ireland and the UK by Wolfhound Press, 'Tribe' is his first novel.