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Without Qualification, Flawless the Sequel
on 27 January 2003
A sequel to a wonderful book is inherently at risk. For when it is to be read by a person familiar with the initial experience, part two is almost predestined to be disappointment. Book one has the advantage of introducing all that is new. The final of the three can tie all the experiences together, can bring closure. But the middle event must maintain the reader's enthusiasm. When the story and its execution are excellent, the reader is enthusiastic for the final event. The last book is not read just to complete the cycle. Happily there are no absolutes, exceptions ensure that there will be pleasant surprises, not all repeated experience need be as expected.
With, "The Chisellers", Mr. Brendan O'Carroll has repeated the brilliance of, "The Mammy", without resorting to repeating himself as a writer, or forcing his characters to remain unchanged. This writer brings all of the people you love in part one and he allows them to evolve as a person would in their own life. The mood of this book is different, but is also a natural progression. The Browne Clan is getting older; adulthood envelops some, while it still awaits the younger children. Agnes too is aging, adapting to the dramatic changes she was forced to cope with in the first book. However as I mentioned when commenting upon, "The Mammy", Mr. O'Carroll tells a wonderful story, which happens to take place with an Irish Family. While it is true this brings with it some detail that may be familiar, the fact that this is an Irish Family is never what drives this book. He never allows his work to cheat and use the easy cliché.
The Author also brings to this wonderful trilogy people that are not Catholic, that are not Irish, and they are not by default the evil players. His story is inclusive; the world he writes about is not a fantasyland where the pains and trials of life are absent. But neither is it a world that when suffering appears, it appears as a certain brand, a certain nationality, a certain group of worn clichés.
And in this second book there is great pain, there is senseless destruction and loss. And while it would be very easy of accusing the Author of being a bit too neat with finding the lining of silver in one cloud too many, it is no more than most tales of Ireland when every cloud contains a granite mountain.
This amazing writer is two for two, and now it remains to be seen if he has the final third of the hat trick within him. For this middle installment is as good as number one, so he has nothing to improve upon, as the first two were uniformly tremendous.