Back in 2004 I read a Northern Irish political comedy titled Private Diary of a Suspended MLA, which told the story of an independent politician, Shay Gallagher, during the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Even though I was mostly brain-dead from a lack of sleep (my little girl Mya had just arrived), and it took me weeks to read the relatively slim tome, it always stuck in my mind as a book I should reread in a few years. Since then Garbhán Downey has released pretty much a book a year and I still haven’t reread it; though I will, if only to remind myself how insane the NI trip to a devolved government has been. However, 2008 sees the return of Shay Gallagher in Yours Confidentially, and I’m telling you right now, it’s the funniest book I’ve read this year. And I read a lot.
Yours Confidentially is the tale of
The subtitle, Letters of a would-be MP, is of the Ronseal school of thought. “It does exactly what it says on the tin.” The novel is in the form of a collection of letters, memos, emails and newspaper clippings. Each chapter has a paragraph or two of narration from Shay Gallagher’s agent, Tommy “Bowtie” McGinlay, but other than that
But I do think the novel could be enjoyed beyond this little province and I’d love to know how easy it reads in
A glossary of terms wouldn’t hurt though. In fact, I might just compile an unofficial glossary myself in the coming days and post it here for those of you with the good sense to listen to me when I say, BUY THIS BOOK. If nothing else, it gives a pretty accurate introduction into the world of NI politics. Then you can tackle my cousin’s academic text -- Political Leadership and the Northern Ireland Peace Process by Cathy Gormley-Heenan -- to get further insight into the politicians who make unofficial cameos throughout the book.
So, Yours Confidentially is a laugh-out-loud-funny, fast-paced story and an entertaining education in the climate of