THE LEDGE by Blánaid McKinney


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The lives of a group of lost souls in London intersect in a complex ballet overshadowed by fate.

We learn at the start that John Kelso is sitting on a window ledge contemplating suicide, and shortly after that that two years earlier he’d been kidnapped for seven days: This is a Pinter-esque drama where we start at the end and work our way back to the beginning. John is (or was) an obscure film critic who hosted one of the graveyard slots on a London cable network. Like most public figures who care passionately about Eastern European cartoons or the later work of Dick van Dyke, John had a cult following of oddballs who hung on his every word. One of these was Kenny Duthie, a Scottish loner who found it difficult to hold a job in London because he was too easily provoked to beat up customers who disagreed with his tastes in movies or music. Kenny had written a screenplay and thought that John Kelso ought to take a look at it, so he abducted John from the studio at gunpoint and brought him home to make sure that he would have his full attention. Seven days later, John was free and more famous than ever. All this got him in touch with Lynne Callier, the researcher for the London talk show John appeared on after his ordeal. Lynne is famous for digging up unpleasant secrets from the lives of her guests. John also received a professional call from Tom, an Irish thief who burgled his apartment. And there’s a running dialogue of sorts going on between an elderly dying woman and her doctor. What have they got to do with John? That’s one of the things we have to figure out.

Fascinating, witty, engrossing: Irish expat McKinney draws very sharp lines that manage to converge in an unexpected point.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-86159-167-5
Page count: 278pp
Publisher: Phoenix/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2003