BLOODY GOOD FRIDAY by Desmond Barry. Fiction, 2002. 199 Pages.
Jonathan Cape/Random House Publishing- I think my favorite story to
come out of Wales was told to me by my old pal, Lee.
He was banging this young lady doggy-style in his parents’ living
room one afternoon when he suddenly heard them coming in through the front
door. Lee panicked and shoved
his fornicating accomplice away. Hard.
Her head cracked into the nearby wall and this completely dazed the
shit out of her. Lee’s
parents were in the room seconds later and were greeted by the sight of
their son sporting a raging hard-on while attempting to hop back into his
jeans. Lying on the floor next to him, naked ass pointed directly up
at them, was a semi-conscious girl they’d never seen before (well, at
least they’d never seen her from that
angle before). The look on
Lee’s conservative, church-going working class parents’ faces must
have been priceless. When I
first met Lee I made him tell this story to every new person I introduced
him to, making us both, in retrospect, look like complete assholes.
Desmond Barry’s A
Bloody Good Friday is now my second favorite story to come out of
Wales. It takes place on a
wildly violent Good Friday in the Welsh valley town of Merthyr Tydfil in
1977. The main character is
Davey Daunt, a godless druggy with a crippled, braced leg.
He runs with the tough boys and freaks of the town, and in this
story he breaks down what exactly happened on that legendary evening from
several points of view. You’ve got Davey’s best pal Macky, an
incredibly tough yet good-hearted SOB just out of jail, and he has an
altercation with some gypsies who don’t take kindly to getting their
asses kicked. You’ve got 50
or 60 skinheads who run riot through town hell-bent on kicking the fuck
outta shit. And you’ve got
various characters throughout the town who interact with and contribute to
this madness during the night, and these characters are a lot of fun in
their own right. To top it
all off, you even get a bit of gratuitous sex when Davey surprisingly
(well, I guess it’s not a surprise anymore) hooks up with the very
seductive Italian waitress, Maria Grazia.
Despite the coarse nature of the above paragraph,
there are actually a lot of subtle things going on in this book.
It’s cool to see how each little incident directly influences
what happens next. There are
also many side stories that really enrich this whole crazy tale, and it
just shows what a great story teller ol’ Desmond Barry truly is.
Bloody Good Friday even has a cool cover.
For the benefit of Askew Reviews’ sizeable Braille readership,
it’s a simple shot of a guy who looks like the main character in the
movie Snatch getting ready to
bust you one in the face. It
gets your blood pumping, just like this story. –Ben Hunter