When Ursula Barnett and her husband Jed win the Irish lottery, they think their troubles are over. But they are just beginning. Ursula coerces her Yank husband to retire in her hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland, hoping to atone for her youthful sins as a collaborator with the IRA in the 1970s. At the first sniff of Ursula s lotto win, however, her chronically greedy sister-in-law Fionnuala Flood rallies the family against Ursula.
Fionnuala's life is a misery. She is married to a boozing fish-packing plant worker and raising seven seedy hooligans, from a convict son to an eight-year-old devil-daughter who will resort to desperate measures to secure the perfect Holy Communion gown. Between two part-time jobs, Fionnuala still finds the energy to put into motion plans which pit husbands against wives, daughters against mothers, the lawless against the law and Fionnuala against anyone fool enough to cross her path.
Family saga and black comedy, love story and courtroom drama, An Embarrassment of Riches will take you on a journey to Northern Ireland and beyond, where Protestants and Catholics wage battle daily, and where crossing family with finance leads to heartache and hilarity, passion and tragedy.
"A Masterpiece!" --Colin Quinn, Comedian, SNL, Tough Crowd “Wildly amusing…a cross between a roller-coaster and a carousel!” --Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson. Readerviews.com "Clearly the work of a craftsman! (The characters) careen around Derry with the grace of a drunken and horny bull!" --Chris Gerrib, Podpeople.com “Classic, I-can’t-stop-reading literature!”— --Jonathan Henderson, Jonhenderscon.com "Hansen does a wonderful job with this dark comedy...an excellent novel for anyone to read again and again!" --Ashley Merrill, Front Street Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Richly illustrated in dialogue, Hansen is an artist of the conversation. And whether it had been written with or without the local Derry Speak, the action and dialogue show that An Embarrassment of Riches lends itself easily into a movie. My favorite scene is when Fionnuala, wearing Jackie O-type wee veiled hat, accompanied by daughter, Siofra, who is festooned in rosary beads, enters St. Brigid's Church for confession. This is not Fionnuala's regular church--she needs more anonymity than that provided at her local St. Moluag's. And when the reader soaks up her confession, well then, we know why anonymity was required. Fionnuala's confession scene finishes with wee Siofra's confession. After reading this part, I realized that Hansen's descriptions of these character's behaviors is also fabulous story telling.
Throughout the story, I laughed out loud and found myself telling friends, "you won't believe it, but this is what happened when I left off the book." If I had...
What a wonderful book!!! Hansen depicts the roller-coaster ride that Ursula Barnett and her greedy, slovenly, crude, mean, lazy, conniving and yet hysterically funny family take after Ursula and her husband Jed win the lottery and move back to Derry. Is blood really thicker than water? Only when mixed with lots of money! This book is filled with crazy humor juxtaposed to quite a harsh environment, which makes for an extremely interesting read. The humor almost gets to slapstick - the description of an incident with grandma had me laughing to tears! I bought several copies of the book as gifts for family and friends and no one was disappointed. My only struggle was the use of the local idiom -- Hansen gives a short translation guide early in the book....but not early enough for me! I got used to it after a while and obviously still enjoyed the book immensely.
The antics of the Flood family are beyond belief! I laughed at each turn of events and marveled at the imagination of the author. Just when I thought these wretched souls couldn't stoop any lower I got blindsided by another dastardly deed. The extent they will go just to outdo the other or gain the slightest of advantages is just hilarious!
Highly recommended! This would make one heck of a movie!
BTW - I didn't find the dialogue hard to comprehend at all. Sure, there's a "dictionary" in the beginning of the book but honestly, I rarely had to reference it in order to figure out what a slang word meant.
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