A Cambridge dropout turned penniless drifter, the unforgettable Ripley Bogle takes us through the underbelly of London and into the surreal world of a vagabond. But Bogle is not your average bum. With a razor-sharp intellect, prodigious powers of perception, and better-than-average appearance ("Most movie stars would give their false back teeth for the kind of lived-in look that I possess"), Bogle careens through the wild streets of homelessness and Irish identity, all the while regaling us with the tale of his ragged Belfast past--and the events that led up to his extraordinary existence.
In a brilliant coupling of sardonic, self-deprecating wit and the lush lyricism of a poet, Robert McLiam Wilson brings us a fiercely modern character with an old soul. Imbued with a grace that is thoroughly at odds with his squalid world, Ripley Bogle gnaws at the fringes of society and skewers its fat heart. The result is a hilarious, unexpectedly touching novel that is destined to become a classic.
Robert McLiam Wilson is a native of Belfast whose work has won the Rooney Prize and the Irish Book Award, and has been shortlisted for the Whitbread Award.
"An astonishing performance, fluent, profound, angry. It made me laugh; it made me think; it made me envious."
--Irish Times (Dublin)
"RIPLEY BOGLE IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST IRISH NOVELS TO HAVE APPEARED IN THE LAST DECADE. IT GOES STRAIGHT FOR THE JUGULAR."
"The eponymous antihero of this splendid anti-coming-of-age novel is a classic Irish rogue: handsome, charming, astute, articulate, arrogant, irresponsible, passionate--above all, a chap who can make you laugh three times per page. . . . Wilson masters even the strongest, most disparate influences (among them Rabelais, Sterne, Joyce, Beckett, Pynchon, the gonzo journalists), invents a portmanteau language of his own and, underneath all the wordplay, reveals with true eloquence the horrors of growing up during the Troubles."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)