In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

raptures, he pretends he sees through the binoculars: "I am looking into the blue dish of self. My field glasses are trained on my own optic nerves." There are moments, however, when the writing seems overedited, straining for a lyrical line that becomes a stilted non sequitur. Kuusisto's crisis, the climactic point of the memoir, comes when he is in a doctoral program and accidentally slices open his reading eye with a sharp bookmark. At this point he decides to stop fighting his blindness and get a guide dog. From here on the memoir is divided equally between expressions of relief and gratitude and explanations of a guide dog's working relationship with a blind person. In the end, to read Kuusisto's book is to imagine a planet of the blind, where no one needs to be cured. (KH) Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe HarperFlamingo, 1998, 202pp., $22 In McCabe's latest offering you'll find plenty of the transgressive and the gruesome, two qualities shared with his brilliant and utterly horrifying 1993 novel, The Butcher Boy. Both books were shortlisted for the Booker Prize and both were UK bestsellers. In The Butcher Boy, McCabe described with horror and dark humor the descent of a young boy in provincial Ireland into criminal madness . In Breakfast on Pluto, he takes us touring through a London and a Northern Ireland of the swinging 1970s, replete with bell-bottoms and flowery shirts, Creedence Clearwater Revival, David Cassidy, and the fashionable gender-bending of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. But this is also a UK torn by the violence in Northern Ireland, where everyone is on one side or the other. That is, everyone but young Patrick "Pussy" Braden, an orphaned transsexual (the product of a priest's rape of a young housekeeper) who, with his love of pink blouses and short skirts, is a mark for all. Pussy's tale is related through a memoir written for "her" absent psychiatrist . It begins with her fleeing a small town in Northern Ireland for the bright lights of London, where she inevitably makes her living as a prostitute. She shops, witnesses seemingly hundreds of random acts of violence, and shops some more, all the while turning tricks on the Picadilly. This is a book so full of incongruous imagery—one can almost picture Pussy walking calmly through bloody killing fields in feather boas and high heels—that we are constantly reminded that in this London ifs impossible to be normal. It is through the eyes of Pussy, disturbed and disoriented and outcast, that we find our bearings in this horror-show UK ofthe late twentieth century. Yet unlikely as it sounds, Pussy's is an oddly sane voice. McCabe's narrator is so sympathetically drawn that we can't help but hope she realizes her dreams—a stable home, children of her own—no matter how unrealistic they are. Breakfast on Pluto is an exciting little book, with enough sex and violence to titillate the most jaded of readers, but in the end it also leaves you with a sweet dream of your own: that maybe there is grace out there, somewhere. (RH) 192 · The Missouri Review ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
p. 192
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.