Like Any Other Man is perhaps like a good many other Irishmen or a sol from the auld sod given to ""agrarian gargles"": when first seen he's coaxing his hair to cover a stretch of pink and arranging his dentures before going off to the bank; when last, he phases out with a case of literal blind staggers following the various retinal haemorrhages his overindulgence has induced if not caused. Somehow, and however reluctantly, one follows his disintegration with a sense of calamitous inevitability: from his bibulous evenings at the pub to his later romps with a much younger girl Delia, and there's one retching scene in which she insists on being tumbled at the bank one night where she fouls his nest. Before long poor Jim Simpson is told to abstain and take an extended sick leave: the nights become interminable as he is then overwhelmed by insomnia. By the close one is happy to see him go. . . . Mr. Boyle, a modern Irish writer, does not water his raw whiskey and what gives his book its power is a raging realism. He can write.