A lifetime ambition – one of them – was realised last Sunday when I was reviewed in the Sunday Times book pages. As in, Even Flow. Kristoffer Mullin was generally positive about the novel, though he had a few criticisms too. The article is behind the Times paywall, but I will see about getting permission to post it up here. In the meantime, a few choice quotes (only good ones, naturally):
“McManus’ novel has plenty of charm and humour, and raises rousing points about society… Disdain for misogynist yuppies steams off the page; the prose hisses and spits about the horror and injustices of the sex trade… In the end, like (Danny) Everard, you may not like everything here, but you’ve got to admire its guts.”
I also had a Q&A in last Saturday’s Irish Independent to promote Even Flow – not available online, so I’m reproducing here:
Favourite Writer, and why?
Don DeLillo. His novels explore the mysteries and meaning of existence better than anything I’ve ever read. He somehow can capture those vague, intangible thoughts we all have and make them real in language.
Best advice on writing you’ve ever heard?
Don’t fall in love with your own words. Which I probably have a tendency to do! Editing kills me.
Last book you read and loved. What did you think of it?
The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver – one of his Lincoln Rhyme thrillers. The guy’s ridiculously skilled at plotting: the twists start coming about halfway through, and keep coming, and each one makes sense.
Favourite book and why?
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. A riveting story in a brilliantly realised future, a profound moral fable, and then the language he invented to tell it – an explosion of pure literary talent.
The book you could never make it through (and why?)
Tried and failed to read Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities more than once. I just didn’t get it. Is this supposed to be funny?
Best stage production you’ve ever seen. Why?
Acrobat, a physical theatre troupe I saw at the Black Box during the 2003 Galway Arts Festival. The things they were doing were so amazing, I was almost rubbing my eyes in delighted disbelief.
Favourite film and why?
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A perfect dream of a movie, with thrilling action scenes, understated and powerful performances, and a script like something from Buddhist literature.
Last film you saw and loved? Why?
Mission Impossible 4! Honestly, it’s very enjoyable – like a concentrated distillation of everything that makes the movies entertaining.
Last film you saw and hated? Why?
Snow White and the Huntsman. Dull, confused, too long, too slow; the story was simultaneously stupid but incomprehensible; every shot felt second-hand; and worst of all, it didn’t properly use the lovely Kristen Stewart.
Favourite painter (if you have one). Why?
Andy Warhol. He basically invented much of what we now know as modern society and culture.
Favourite TV show (and why?)
The Mentalist. I love Robin Tunney, love all the characters, love how Patrick is more than a little crazy, and love the Red John storyline, which is properly scary.
Favourite radio show or presenter. Why?
I’ll plead the Fifth, so as to maintain professional integrity as Irish Independent radio reviewer!
Favourite website and why:
Used to be Wikipedia, before I found out it’s all made up. Maybe Twitter now – massively useful for writers and journalists. And good fun, too.
Favourite city/country and why:
Ireland, probably, because it’s where I’m from and what I know…and it ain’t a bad old place, when you balance it all up. Plus the weather is mild – always a bonus.
Mushrooms. Any kind, in any form, anywhere, anytime. If I could live on mushrooms, I would.
Wine or beer?:
Beer! Tastes better with a cigarette.
Cultural blindspot (eg modern art, classical music etc)
Reggae music. Tuneless and repetitive style, violent homophobia, those awful drum/bin-lid things they use…maybe I’m missing something!