BOOK REVIEW: And Watch The Parking Meters

NAMED after a line in Bob Dylan’s famous spoken riff on Subterranean Homesick Blues, Eddie Murray’s second novel follows hot on the heels of his successful 2012 debut The Green Bridge.

Reading a bit like a fast-mouthed, street-smart Belfast noir, tragedy unfolds within the pages of this book, interwoven with the city’s dark and troubled past but balanced against the humorous and unerringly positive nature of Irish character.

Full of wheelings, dealings and a smattering of philosophical reflections on the complicated nature of this little island of Ireland, Murray’s book is a pacey, often deeply humorous thriller which is hard not to like.

Take the opening scenes as an example, where idealistic young Queen’s graduate experience a students union protest lock-in under the effects of LSD and proceed to boil each other’s brains with the kind of self-important ramblings every student digs up and down the country have been witness to.

“The three friends were soon casually drifting arond the union building and enjoying the low level excitement of anticipation that follows the breakdown of normal law… as they journeyed, Marco Polo could not have been more fascinated by his discoveries in the land of the Khan than they were by the magical intensity of everything that happened through that night.”

Striking just the right balance between serious reflection on the social and political situation in their midst and a self-effacing two-fingered salute to all that nonsense in favour of a good party with some top quality vinyl, Gerard, Bernard and Thomas take us on an enjoyable journey through hazy student days and beyond – to the real world where people grow up, drift apart, face responsibilities and get involved in situations that will lead to unthinkable consequences.

A Belfast-born environmental consultant turned author now living in Dublin, Murray is also a fervid Irish speaker, who has been involved and helped create summer schools which celebrate Gaelic poets. For a copy of And Watch The Parking Meters, (£7.99) email info@shanwaypress.com or call 028 90 222 070.

By Shelley Marsden

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