By: Yzel Joy N. Amoyoc
Author: Brendan O’ Carroll
The chisellers published in 1995, for this he thank all of you, readers, booksellers and his publishers. The biggest thrill he have had from the fallout of The Chisellers, has been the enormous number of people that have told me that it was the first book they had ever read.
If you are one of those, he hope that is your second, that you have discovered the joy that books can bring and go on to entertain yourself with the thousands of wonderful, adventurous, mysterious, scary, and comical books that are lying on the shelves of bookstores right now whispering to all who pass them, ‘pick me … pick me!!’.
He was introduced to the beauty of reading when he was just nine years old. A young schoolteacher named Billy Flood gave me a tattered copy of Treasure Island.
By turns funny, wise and heartbreaking, this Irish Tales of the City is O’Carroll’s second book in his Mrs. Browne trilogy; the first, The Mammy, received high praise after publication in the U.S. last year. Featuring eccentric characters who are charming, irreverent and believable, the story continues in 1973 with Agnes Browne at center stage.
A widow raising six sons and a daughter, whom she refers to collectively as the “”chisellers,”” she lives in public housing in inner-city Dublin. Agnes is no angel, which makes her all the more human; she chain-smokes, likes a pint or two of an evening and has a sweet-dispositional boyfriend, a French immigrant named Pierre, who works at a pizza joint and is endlessly patient with Agnes and her rambunctious brood. Mark Browne is the oldest; at 17, he is apprenticed to a furniture-maker whose business is failing. How Mark saves the business and wins the girl of his dreams inform the main storyline, but each of the siblings and Agnes get their fair share of attention. Frankie, the next in age, is involved with violent local skinheads.
After he and his gang brutally beat his younger brother, Rory, a subsequent act further tarnishes Frankie’s reputation and outrages his family. This lively novel features a wedding, a funeral and an ending that will melt the hardest heart. Readers will eagerly await the third book in this series. (Mar.) FYI: The film version of The Mammy, starring Anjelica Huston, is currently in release.
The chisellers contain more relatable and endearing character. Agnes Browne and her merry group of six. Next to Agnes was Carmel Dowdall, a neighbour of Agnes’s in James Larkin. Like Agnes, Carmel had a thirteen-year-old daughter. Coincidentally, both young girls. The twin girls had matured well, although quite pretty.
Brendan created a good depth for his characters that could relate to some of the issues about babies. Cathy, Carmel, Agnes, James all have a backgrounds of being a good child for Cathy and Carmel also a good parents for Agnes and James.
The character and the concurrent story delivery don’t always show a naughty of being a child, and for the parents don’t always show that you
Are angry. This can be a really soul strengthening experience for those with abundant background in real life.
A woman named Agnes Browne lives in Dublin in 1970 with her children and Agnes’ husband, Rider, died three years before the novel begins. Agnes’ children are named Cathy, Dermot, Simon, Mark, Rory, and Francis. Francis is the eldest son and prefers the nickname ‘Frankie’. Frankie is belongs to a gang of skinheads, or, neo-Nazis, who target homosexuals because there are no people of color in Dublin during this novel’s setting. Mark is an apprentice at the carpentry business of an old man named Benny Wise. Rory left school at 14 and entered into an apprenticeship with a hairdresser. Cathy is in her final year of school, at age 13. Dermot and Simon are twins and together in their first year at Technical School. Simon has a severe stutter and is thought to have a vocation for Priesthood while Dermot is talented at carpentry and runs a newspaper route. Thomas is six years old and is thought to be either intellectually deficient or dyslexic by his teachers.
A man named Sean McHugh who works at Benny Wise’s carpentry business asks Mark Browne to participate in a company meeting with a firm called ‘Smyth and Blythe’ which is pivotal to the future of Benny Wise’s carpentry firm. Browne and McHugh market a product called the ‘Elizabeth Suite’ to Smythe and Blythe which the British customers believe is named for Queen Elizabeth, but in reality is named after a woman named Elizabeth whom Mark wishes to marry named Elizabeth Collins.
Agnes Browne wins the local bingo game for £310. Frankie is expelled from school, and Agnes threatens to disallow Frankie to live with Agnes if Frankie does not find a job and pay rent. Dermot goes shoplifting the next day because Dermot is bored and does not have any money. Mark witnesses Dermot shoplifting and invents an excuse on behalf of Dermot which Mark tells Agnes, but Mark scolds Dermot for stealing privately. Agnes goes on a date that evening.
Mark Browne borrows £50 from Agnes Browne and spends all of Mark’s savings on carpentry supplies for the ‘Elizabeth Suite’. Mark is successful in building the Suite and secures an order with ‘Smyth and Blythe’ for as many Suites as Mark can make for a price of £80 a suite.
Manny Wise is an emigrant and the son of Benny Wise and lives in London, selling drugs via younger Irish emigrants who often become addicted to the heroin which they are attempting to sell. The police are watching Manny closely.
Simon overcomes his stutter to secure a job as a porter in training with the local hospital. Frankie and the skinheads corner Rory in an alley because the skinheads suspect Rory of being homosexual as a hairdresser and the skinheads, including Frankie, physically assault Rory, injuring Rory badly. Frankie steals the remainder of Agnes’ bingo money and sails off for England.
Frankie assumes the alias of Ben Daly and becomes Manny Wise’s right hand man in London. Frankie begins selling drugs and using cocaine with Manny Wise. Frankie sends home two £20 notes to Agnes and apologizes for stealing Agnes’ business money in an attached letter. Years pass by.
Cathy Dowdall is a friend of Cathy Browne’s and goes on a data with Simon Browne. Cathy Dowdall attempts to give Simon genital stimulation with her hand while Simon and Cathy are sitting in a theater. Simon is petrified and Cathy Dowdall is arrested for lewd behavior. Simon joins the priesthood after Cathy Dowdall attempts to give Simon manual genital stimulation.
Manny Wise is arrested and calls Frankie, whom Wise believes is named Ben Daly, from prison. Wise sends Daly to Wise’s apartment to collect Wise’s money for bail. Instead of only taking out the money necessary for bail, Frankie steals all of Wise’s money and an envelope in which Manny Wise kept the deed to Benjamin Wise’s carpentry shop. Frankie goes to the prison and bails Manny out but then makes an excuse to leave Manny.
Frankie stays in England but hides where Manny cannot find Frankie, although Manny sends guards to all the airports and border crossing areas when Manny discovers that Frankie has stolen Manny’s money. Frankie develops a heroin addiction while on the run from Manny Wise and spends almost all of the £3000 stolen from Manny Wise during a three month period in London through a combination of drinking, gambling, and heroin use.
Mark Browne marries Elizabeth Collins in 1978 and Benjamin Wise dies of excitement during the ceremony. Manny Wise flies into town for Benjamin Wise’s funeral. Benjamin Wise’s lawyer calls Mark Browne, Sean McHugh, and Manny Wise into the lawyer’s office to read Benjamin Wise’s will. Benjamin Wise leaves Benjamin Wise’s home to Sean McHugh, the Wise carpentry shop to Mark Browne, and Benjamin Wise leaves Manny Wise’s ego to Manny Wise. Manny Wise laughs, and claims to have the deed to Benjamin Wise’s carpentry shop, making Benjamin Wise’s will void. The lawyer gives Manny Wise three days to produce the deed.
Manny Wise flies back to London and finds that the deed has been stolen. A former employee of Manny Wise’s, named Joe Fitzgerald, assaults Manny Wise in the lobby of Manny Wise’s apartment building for heroin, and Manny Wise attacks Joe Fitzgerald, and in the process Manny Wise punctures a foil package of cocaine, which explodes all over the lobby of the apartment building. Police witness the scene and arrest Manny Wise.
Frankie hides in a cargo freight of a train headed toward London and dreams of Ireland while using his last fix of heroin. Frankie dies of hypothermia and the coroners find Frankie’s body with the crumpled deed to Benjamin Wise’s carpentry shop.
Art and Delivery
Brendan uses a very descriptive words when he is writing. He describes what the character does. The story is nice because he give the reader a more of interesting about it. Also the description effort also a challenge to imagination, and that good to us to exercise for our mind at any time of the day.
The art provided by Brendan O’ Carroll are excellent and complement the book extremely well. There are times when the ordinary fonts are big. There are also times when the font art becomes part of an illustration. The illustrations themselves are dark and cute these create an effect in the mood of the storytelling, enhances the reading experience.
The approach of The Chisellers to complementing his storytelling with graphic is very novel and an excellent one at that. In fact, I myself have decided that when I write my first story book, I will take a more interesting and also have a knowledge to get in the part of my story book .
The story is nice and the excellent art, the series itself is above average for me; 8 stars; but the third book for me was greater than 9, because of the nice plot. I rate The Chisellers 8 out of 10 stars. Though it’s a nice book but it is deficient. It is nice to read this book if it is hard to understand some of the words but I try my best to understand.