FIREBALLS by Dan Binchy

FIREBALLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Third in Binchy's Brulagh muddle-and-tipple farces (The Neon Madonna, 1992; The Last Resort, 1993), this is another cheerfully shameless float of Irish village caricatures. Fireballs -- pelletized peat -- is the latest dandy project pushed by that expansively potbellied glad-hander Mick Flannery to bring about prosperity for the dim little Irish town of Brulagh -- and re-election for himself to the European Parliament. In spite of the convenient removal of the town banker to a dry-out berth and the resultant easy access to his luscious wife, Mick (married miserably to superpious Maggie) is uneasy about the upcoming election. Having done nothing for the town except build a Leisure Center (named for himself), he needs a money and job bonanza. A Kentucky coal-unloading operation seems the answer, and after a trip to the States -- where Mick is feted and reviled by such as ""The Hostile Sons of St. Finians"" as a result of his two conflicting views of the British presence in Northern Ireland -- Mick is saved from a eon job concerning the Kentucky operation by roving financial wizard Abe Linovitz. It was Abe who had rescued the moldering West African Kingdom of Marabar with a resort enterprise. (But an unfortunate turn of tides and events has forced the erstwhile ruler and son to become citizens of Brulagh.) Also on hand to attempt to raise money by other means, pleasing or distasteful: Father Jeremiah (sprung from his job as troubleshooter for the Vatican); salty-tongued Lady Aphra, whose marriage to dimly Mafia-connected American Luke Divareli has delighted her impecunious father, the 11th Earl of Gallerick, whose home is now a pricey inn called The Orchid Club; Johnny Slattery, whose poteen melts both teeth and tongue; Sgt. Johnson, on his perennial Elmer Fudd, searches for Johnny's still. With riots, jolting treks on mountain and foggy glens, tipsy talk, and discussions in the high decibels, it's all innocent merriment.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's