by Desmond MacNamara
Publication date: 03/01/1994
In the tradition of Flann O'Brien's comic Irish extravaganzas, Desmond MacNamara's novel is a hilarious excursion into Irish history and literature. A gentleman named Mountmellik and his servant MacGilla escape from the Limbo where characters from unfinished literary works are trapped, and enjoy life on Earth so much that they summon from Limbo other literary characters: a young woman named Loreto Amargamente (from an unfinished story by F. Scott Fitzgerald), an Irish maiden named Liadin (from George Moore's unrealized historical novel), and, most terrifying, the eight-feet-tall Eevell of Craglee, Queen of the Munster Hosts of Fairy. These five hatch a scheme by which they can spring more characters from literary Limbo and, by finishing and publishing their stories, send them to Parnassus, all the while holding the author captive so that they themselves won't be forced to go. But during a bizarre climax, the author escapes and sends this novel to his publisher, immortalizing them against their will. Throughout the novel are yarns, digressions, and speculations, the centerpiece being a forty-page retelling of the story of the legendary Irish poets Curither and Liadin. Like O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds, it mixes the glorious Irish literary past with its messy present and has a good deal of fun at the expense of the novel as an art form.