The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - BOOKS -


Erik Martiny’s de­but is a witty ac­count of a Franco-Irish fam­ily liv­ing in Cork from the 1970s to the mid-1990s. It chron­i­cles the sex­ual es­capades of the par­ents, which re­sult in the mother giv­ing birth to no fewer than 27 chil­dren, which causes may­hem in the morn­ing and at meal times. Pri­vacy is im­pos­si­ble: even gain­ing ac­cess to a toi­let is prob­lem­atic. Martiny can spin a yarn and has a gift for com­edy. He be­gins each chap­ter with a short sum­mary of world news in the year about to be cov­ered. Fam­ily in­ci­dents as­sume some of the epic qual­i­ties of the big news sto­ries of the time. The fa­ther, a French aca­demic, jeal­ously holds on to his “Fren­chi­tude”. The mother is a pious Irish Catholic, distin­guished by “the al­most un­re­served pa­gan rel­ish she has for sex­ual in­ter­course”. The stylis­tic py­rotech­nics and gar­gan­tuan ex­ag­ger­a­tion can grate at times, but there is none­the­less a qual­ity that draws one to the text and in­di­cates that Martiny may well be a force to be reck­oned with.


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