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Sad Bastard [Paperback]

Hugo Hamilton
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 1999
Garda Pat Coyne (Mr Suicide) is back, and refusing to be healed. The damaged idealist is recovering from a traumatic event in the course of his duty, which has left him in deep shock. However, Coyne believes the problem is with Ireland, and has his self-appointed mission to rescue a young woman.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009927499X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099274995
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,616,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Dublin policeman Pat Coyne was the eponymous Headbanger of Hugo Hamilton's last novel. He is now the Sad Bastard of this one. The fiercely moral and frighteningly confused Coyne was dubbed "the Irish Dirty Harry" as he took on the lowlife of Dublin's underworld. But now, after five months on sick leave following a fire, he is reduced to sitting alone at a bar ordering gin and tonics on the off chance that his estranged wife might walk in and rescue him. Battalions of psychologists and healers are set to work on his troubled psyche, but "put it this way", muses the narrator: "It was a waste of time trying to bring Coyne back to normal. He had never been normal in the first place, and was hardly going to fit into the parameters of textbook sanity at this point." So in the absence of reflective calm, he again chooses chaotic action and plunges into the uncertainties and dangers of modern Ireland. The lively plot involves Coyne's son in some dangerous dock-side shenanigans and a scam to bring into the country illegal immigrants from Romania. But the real subject is Ireland, and the rapid process of changes it is undergoing, which leaves Coyne, as ever, to ruminate sadly that "maybe Ireland was not a real place but a country that existed only in the imagination, or in the songs of emigrants." --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Compelling 25 Jan 2005
By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book picks up the story of middle-aged Dublin policeman Pay Coyne, who was introduced in Hamilton's book Headbanger. In that earlier tale, Coyne turned from a misunderstood family man into a one man crimebuster, a la Dirty Harry. This book finds him separated from his new-age healer wife, and living in a dingy apartment, wrestling with depression and what sounds like post-traumatic stress following his disability after a quixotic attempt to rescue someone from a fire. Much of his time is spent staring into beers down at a dockside pub, one of the few places he can stand to be around other people. That's where a meager plot develops, revolving around a local thug's scheme of smuggling Eastern Europeans into the country illegally in a fishing vessel. This leads to a murder, a bag of missing cash, and trouble for Cone's wild teenage son. Meanwhile, as in Headbanger, he discovers a young woman who needs protecting-here an inept Romanian shoplifter. None of this is particularly gripping, however. It feels somewhat forced, as if Hamilton knew he needed to have some kind of story to keep readers interested. 'Cause the emphasis seems to be on Coyne's disgust with modern Ireland, as he rants over and over about how awful it all is. He takes on somewhat of the air of a mad prophet in all this, lurching around town, pining for his wife and family. While it's not your average picture of Dublin, it's not a very compelling read either.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Sad Book 10 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback
I don't mind if a book I read is not funny as long as it has something. Unfortunately, for me 'Sad Bastard' had nothing going for it at all. Coyne is an ex police officer who is retired due to the bad lungs he sustained in a fire whilst on the job. Rather than try to heal himself Coyne revels in his own depression and seems to be slowly drifting into madness. No one can stop him on his one way road to destruction, but perhaps a family crisis is the motivation he needs? His son is the chief suspect in a murder inquiry and it appears that the boy is mixing with a crowd that wants him dead. Can Coyne save his son and himself?

I found that this book suffered from a number of issues. Firstly, the tone is very dark and miserable. In itself this is not a bad thing, as long as the book has something to make you want to read it, like a story. Unfortunately, the story here is meagre at best and what is even more annoying is that Coyne as a central character has little or no impact on events at all and is a side character in his own story! This may work on some sort of arty level, but for me was just plain wrong.

I was also frustrated with the bizarre layout of the book - no speech marks or chapters! There is a reason why the written word has used these devices for 100s of years and I cannot understand what makes Hamilton think he is above them. You end up going from situation to situation only realising it's a different 'chapter' about half a paragraph on. This was an unnecessary style choice that makes a poor book even worse.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not sad at all! 26 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hugo Hamilton writes with an excellent style. There's plenty of characters in this book, all of them fairly interesting and well-explained. The book reads well, and the overall arc of the plot is like several episodes of a soap-opera. My only complaint is that speech from characters wasn't quoted in quotation marks, it was hyphenated like this: -Well, that's a nice necklace you're wearing.
But it was fairly funny in places. There's so much going on and it's all so original and well-detailed.
Well done, Hugo.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sad at all! 20 May 2000
By Jeremy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hugo Hamilton writes with an excellent style. There's plenty of characters in this book, all of them fairly interesting and well-explained. The book reads well, and the overall arc of the plot is like several episodes of a soap-opera. My only complaint is that speech from characters wasn't quoted in quotation marks, it was hyphenated like this:
-Well, that's a nice necklace you're wearing.
But it was fairly funny in places. There's so much going on and it's all so original and well-detailed.
Well done, Hugo.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Man 19 Mar 2004
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book picks up the story of middle-aged Dublin policeman Pay Coyne, who was introduced in Hamilton's book Headbanger. In that earlier tale, Coyne turned from a misunderstood family man into a one man crimebuster, a la Dirty Harry. This book finds him separated from his new-age healer wife, and living in a dingy apartment, wrestling with depression and what sounds like post-traumatic stress following his disability after a quixotic attempt to rescue someone from a fire. Much of his time is spent staring into beers down at a dockside pub, one of the few places he can stand to be around other people. That's where a meager plot develops, revolving around a local thug's scheme of smuggling Eastern Europeans into the country illegally in a fishing vessel. This leads to a murder, a bag of missing cash, and trouble for Cone's wild teenage son. Meanwhile, as in Headbanger, he discovers a young woman who needs protecting-here an inept Romanian shoplifter. None of this is particularly gripping, however. It feels somewhat forced, as if Hamilton knew he needed to have some kind of story to keep readers interested. 'Cause the emphasis seems to be on Coyne's disgust with modern Ireland, as he rants over and over about how awful it all is. He takes on somewhat of the air of a mad prophet in all this, lurching around town, pining for his wife and family. While it's not your average picture of Dublin, it's not a very compelling read either.
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