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An exuberantly absurd and intermittently amusing farce about three women looking for love and money in pop-culture-saturated contemporary Ireland, first fiction that makes Bridget Jones’s Diary seem as subtle and mannered as a Jane Austen novel.

Laura Cafferty is a glamorous, hard-edged p.r. diva a few steps away from a nervous breakdown brought on by excessive partying, anonymous sex, and an unexpected and staggeringly large tax bill. Gloria O’Neill, who clawed her way out of the Dublin slums via a successful salon business, has an ex-husband whose daily visits to her cash register threaten to bankrupt her. Ambitious Sandy Nolan abandoned a cushy PA job in London for a disappointing one back home and is now searching for a big story to cement her reputation as a serious journalist. Numerous secondary (and tertiary, etc.) characters are just stereotypes, albeit amusing ones, among them a supercilious rich lady, a flamboyant queen, a philandering ex, a conniving would-be model, an upstanding record producer, a frustrated writer, and a country-bumpkin manufacturer of incontinence pants. And then, finally, there’s a middle-aged, hyperemotional Irish-American billionaire, whose desire to find and marry a colleen (an unspoiled Irish lass, preferably red-headed) establishes him at the center of all the multitudinous plot lines. Since Prunty’s tasks of exposition and resolution are matters of manipulating caricatures as opposed to developing characters, there’s never any question what will happen in the end: good people will triumph (get married, get rich), bad will suffer (be abandoned, be fired). Can’t suspense, though, be anticipation of the inevitable? And who can deny the pleasure of such escalating levels of narrative outrageousness?

Aimed at a wider audience than her first (Boys! A User’s Guide: a handbook for teenage girls), this debut will doubtless find it. Will Hollywood tone it down?

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-018508-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001