A JOKE GOES A LONG WAY IN THE COUNTRY by Alannah Hopkin

A JOKE GOES A LONG WAY IN THE COUNTRY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Oh, sod it, here I am in London being a big fucking bigshot and so fucking what."" So thinks Alex Buckley, restless young heroine of this jaunty but thin first novel--an Irish-born, London-reared freelance writer who's torn between the simple life in rural Cork (where she vacations) and the glossy life in London. She's got lots of lovers in the city: piggy journalist Hugh, whom she eventually finds too piggy (""she was far better off alone than in the company of a man who was so inherently vulgar as to be able to come out with the phrase 'I hope your cunt fucking rots' and sound as if he meant it""); political activist Digger; and congenial rock-star Andy. But she also has a lover back in Cork: farmer/boatman Tom, who makes her laugh. . . and wants Alex to settle down to the country life, helping him to run his new pub. So Alex goes back and forth between Ireland and London, realizing that ""her passion for Tom had burnt itself out yet again""; feeling free, she goes off to America as resident journalist on Andy's tour. But then she gets word that her beloved Irish aunt has died, bequeathing her country house to Alex. So, after a spot of guilt-making adultery, Alex does indeed wind up in Ireland--and is soon reporting (in the off-putting tones of That Cosmopolitan Girl) on her newfound bliss with a lover who resembles a legendary Irish hero: ""I had this perfectly amazing experience which totally knocked me out and not just because it was my first and only lover here and the best I've had anywhere! . . . It would appear I'm even being faithful to him, so it must be serious!"" Occasionally engaging, but mostly shallow--with enough substance for, at best, a short story.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum