List price $11.96
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- Paperback $8.20
- Publisher: O'Brien Press Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 176 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 184mm x 14mm | 141g
- Publication date: 23 November 1999
- Publication City/Country: Dublin
- ISBN 10: 086278641X
- ISBN 13: 9780862786410
- Sales rank: 157,204
This is the first book in the "Agnes Browne" trilogy. It is now a film starring Anjelica Huston and Tom Jones. 'And what was the cause of death?' 'A Hunter', Agnes said. 'Was he shot', the girl asked incredulously, 'was your husband shot?' 'By who?' Agnes asked this question as if the girl had found out something about her husband's death that she didn't know herself. Then a look of realisation came into her face. 'No! A Hillman Hunter, he was knocked down by a Hillman Hunter!' Agnes Browne is a widow of only a few hours when she goes to the Social Welfare Office. Living in James Larkin Flats, with Redsers' legacy - seven little Brownes - to support on the income from her Moore Street stall, she can't afford to miss a day's pension. Life is like that for Agnes and her best pal Marion. But they still have time for a laugh and a jar, and Agnes even has a dream - that one day she will dance with Cliff Richard. "The Mammy" describes the life and times, the joys and sorrows of Agnes, mother of the famous Mrs. Browne's Boys from the daily radio soap. A book of hilarious incidents, glorious characters, and a passion for life, it is written with a sure touch and great ear for dialogue.
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Now author, actor/director/ script-writer, playwright, video star as well as stand-up comic, the Brendan O'Carroll story begins very modestly. The youngest of eleven children, Brendan O'Carroll was born in Dublin's inner-city in 1955. His mother, Maureen was a Labour TD (MP) and a huge influence on his life. He left school at 12 and worked as a waiter, trying many other occupations in his spare time - disco manager, milkman, pirate radio disc-jockey, painter-decorator etc. For a time he ran his own bar and cabaret lounge before being persuaded to try the comedy circuit. The gigs were small at first and even included his own version of 'Blind Date', but word soon got round about this original and outrageous funnyman and then there was standing-room only. The real turning point in Brendan's career was his first appearance on The Late Late Show, Ireland's longest-running chat show, also shown weekly on Channel 4 in the UK. The studio audience and the viewers loved him. His first video Live at the Tivoli went straight to No 1, knocking U2 out of the top slot and pushing Garth Brooks to No 3. In 1994 he was voted Ireland's No 1 Variety Entertainer at the National Entertainment Awards. He went on to make 4 top-selling videos, and a bestselling record, as well as touring in Ireland, the UK and the USA. The radio show Mrs Browne's Boys, written by and starring Brendan, had a phenomenal daily audience on 2FM and led to the creation of Agnes Browne as the central character in Brendan's first novel, The Mammy, published in 1994. The book topped the bestseller charts in Ireland for months and the film rights were snapped up. The Mammy is now also available as a talking book. The sequel to The Mammy, entitled The Chisellers, published in 1995, was also a long-running bestseller, and the final book in the trilogy, The Granny, (1996) went straight to No 1 in the Irish Bestseller list; the first print-run sold out immediately. Meanwhile Brendan wrote a play, The Course, which had a five-month sell-out run in Dublin in 1995/96 and has toured in England (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool) and Scotland as well as in Canada. Brendan can be seen on the big screen in the film of Roddy Doyle's The Van, in which he plays alongside Colm Meaney of Star Trek and The Snapper fame. His performance has been described by the critics as 'spot-on'. He also hosts a quiz show on RTE - Hot Milk and Pepper.
'He’s done one hell of a job of capturing the absolute essence of a widowed mother of seven in working-class Dublin.'
Comedian O'Carroll's debut novel, the first installment in an intended trilogy, goes over tuff familiar to Irish storytellers, offering an amusing if saccharine view of family life in working-class Dublin, where a young widow with seven children makes ends meet and realizes her most cherished dream in spite of everything. Agnes Browne is initially glimpsed in the Pension Office, applying for her widow's relief on the afternoon of the same day her husband was run over by a car. Although his funeral goes smoothly, the burial turns out to be a fiasco, as three processions become entangled and Agnes and the other mourners see the wrong casket interred. Then life resumes much as before, with Agnes and her dear friend Marion going off at dawn every day to run their fruit-and-vegetable stands in a street market. Tensions at home are lessened, however, without the threats from her drunken, abusive husband. The kids still have their share of woes: the eldest, Mark, is worried about his new pubic hair and new responsibilities as head of the household; the only girl, Cathy, runs afoul of Sister Magdalen when she leaves school without permission - to get fresh underwear after learning of a surprise checkup by the school doctor. Agnes experiences another, even greater loss when Marion discovers a lump in her breast and dies within a few months. Yet the plucky widow also manages to catch the eye of a Frenchman opening a pizza parlor in the neighborhood, and she goes on her first date since learning she was pregnant with Mark. Finally, thanks to a chance encounter and some mischief involving two of her boys, Agnes is able to achieve an impossible dream, just in time for Christmas. Would that the lives of the working poor were all so blessed. When not engaged in creating Capraesque moments, though, this is a gritty, colorful tale of Irish reality. (Kirkus Reviews)