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The Parts Paperback – 4 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (4 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571215726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571215720
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 850,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A novel of considerable power . . The grand finale would have Tarantino on his feet . . . it is brilliantly structured.' -- Sunday Independent

‘A very considerable pleasure.' -- Daily Telegraph

‘Rich, exuberant . . . and breathtakingly funny.' -- Observer

‘Simply bursts with energy and incident, with a a crowded cast of vivid characters and some enormously enjoyable comic scenes.' -- TLS

‘The finest and most truly funny Irish comic novel since ‘At-Swim-Two-Birds'.' -- Irish Times

From the Back Cover

Part thriller, part comedy, part portrait of a city, ‘The Parts' shares airtime with Joe Kavanagh, radio host struggling with interference from his private life; Barry, his producer, about to be ambushed by something suspiciously like love; Delly Roche, a woman who wrongly thinks death might provide her with a way out; Kitty Flood, over-eater, under-achiever, party to a secret from the past; Dr George Addison-Blake, stranded strange American with funny ideas about medical ethics; and Kez, the Dublin rent boy who links them all, without quite knowing it, to a single story, part hilarious, part scary, part beautiful. Just like life.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By back to basics on 15 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kieth Ridgway's first novel, "The Long Falling", very rightly won big European prizes. It was straight-forward and hugely sympathetic, the story of a middle-aged Irish woman from the farming world, driven to engineer the death of the psychopath husband who was beating her up on a regular basis. It's the tale of her self discovery, as she takes shelter with her out gay son in Dublin. In other words, it didn't cast the gay as a victim, but as part of forward-moving Irish life.

"The Parts" is vastly more ambitious, more like an attempt to rewrite Joyce's "Ulysses" but with gay characters as part of the core rhythms of the life of a city. There's six characters, and some brief lyrical interludes that seem to come from Virginia Woolf's "The Waves", and it's without a doubt a groundbreaking book.

It's at once tricksy, and a not altogether perfect book. At times I found myself thinking of Angus Wilson's equally experimental and equally ambitious "No Laughing Matter", which attempted the history of England from the Edwardians to the 1970s with the gay elements among the key aspects. And as is Wilson, Keith Ridgway is peerless on his gay figures, especially the men - the young guys, the hangers-on, the rent boys, the dodgey brother, and the anti-gays who just can't stay away from the gays. He's interested too in different ways that people stray from their own paths, in loyalties and disloyalties, and especially in freedom, and in what people may have to do to reach freedom.

I took the title as asking a question - do the parts hang together? do these people constitute a city? a world? The suburban and the bedsit people are brilliantly vivid, to my mind much more so than the rich moneyed folk - but maybe that's exactly the point?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ridgway approaches anomie, guilt, despair in The Parts in a sympathetic way, suggesting that we shouldn't take them too seriously, so that the only real villain here is a pantomime villain, and several of the other characters likeably wish and plan to rescue themselves from their faults, and from the unreal blankness of celtic tiger Dublin.
I think it's the writer's voice one responds to. His characters repay the attention we are asked to give them for long pages (and they are constantly being shuffled), for more than half the novel in fact, before the rather sensational and ludicrous plot rears its head.
It's a really good book, but, like any novel of 450 odd pages, it would be much better had it 275.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
I was quite disappointed with the Long Falling, as it didn't have any of the energy of Standard Time, which really impressed me. The Parts really delivers on the promise shown by his short stories: the characters are vivid and believable, and the human interaction is beautifully done. Not quite sure about the plotting, but the writing shows so much talent (and enjoyment) - I actually wished it was longer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent... 15 Aug. 2005
By Alan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After reading a couple really lame books, I'm fortunate to have found "The Parts" by Keith Ridgway.

This is one of those books in which the author sets about describing the everyday lives of 5 or 6 people who seem to have very little relationship to each other, but, as he weaves the story together their lives become more entangled.

This is the story of Delly Roche, the elderly and dying Irish heir to a pharmaceutical fortune and her friend American author Kitty Flood, and her doctor. It is also the story of Joe and Barry, a radio personality and his producer. And, Kez, the hustler.

The book has moments of brilliance, like the author's description of the many Dublins, his convoluted plot regarding a memory-wiping drug and the governments of Earth, and his, at times, nearly Dickensian descriptions of the Dublin streets or the characters themselves.

There are some trite aspects to this book. For example, you can already guess the fate of the gay hustler on the streets of Dublin. But the author handles these moments so well, that you don't really mind.

So, if you can find it. Read it.
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