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Cartoon City, the third novel by Irish comic writer, Ferdia Mac Anna tells the tall tale of tabloid journo, Myles Sheridan, who's seeking a way out of his passionless job and relationship. Myles, aka the Goalpost, is six foot six, 30 years old and alarmingly, still growing. He's learnt the first and most important rule for a tall guy: "to steer clear of fights with guys small enough to loaf you in the balls." He spends his time "getting out of his cranium in the Nerve nightclub and shifting some wagon" with "a face like a roadmap". Not your intellectual chap.

Myles teams up with small-time crims, Pat and Dez--the Sundance Leprechaun--and accompanies them on a "gig", hoping to scoop his first feature article. The plan goes hilariously wrong and the lads almost run over a girl on a bicycle as they make their getaway. Myles falls in love with the cyclist, Mia, and her flowery Doc Martens, neglecting his live-in partner Lucy and five-year old daughter. Lucy then drags him to group therapy and in a very funny scene, we see his acting sentimental and converted skills fool everyone. Keen to impress Mia, he lets her believe he's a fulltime gangster and although supposedly sophisticated and smart, she seems to fall for this implausibility. That he can't see she's using him for all she can get is a tricky plot bump. The drama comes to the boil when Myles beds Mia and wakes to find her father's gun in his chest. He's forced outside, naked, and, in the funniest moment in the book, makes a desperate dash along the cliffs of Howth, posing as a nudist. How he ends up in a monk's habit is the result of a typical Mac Anna twist which stretches belief in the way that only slapstick can. Claiming it's simply "pest control", Mia begs Myles to rid her of Psychodad and Myles breaks off the affair.

Cartoon City careers madly out of control, unsure of its status as a thriller or comedy and reads like a pre-film transitional format. Mac Anna is best at character description, such as the goons who work the newspaper: Sperm with a Perm, Migraine McGann and Jarlath Boon, who has a "face on him like a boiled squirrel". Myles is a hopeless case--a whinging, childish, self-indulgent anti-hero who risks being rubbed out "like a cartoon character" for stepping out of his depth. By the end, you almost wish he was taken out but Mac Anna's writing and funny one-liners will keep you reading.--Cherry Smyth

Used availability for Ferdia Mac Anna's Cartoon City

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Paperback Editions

November 2000 : UK Paperback
Title: Cartoon City
Author(s): Ferdia Mac Anna
ISBN: 0-7472-6302-7 / 978-0-7472-6302-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

March 2000 : UK Paperback
Title: Cartoon City
Author(s): Ferdia Mac Anna
ISBN: 0-7472-7341-3 / 978-0-7472-7341-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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