"I finished me thirty years in 2012, got me pension, bought this car, and now I have a grand old time driving about the place, listening to the radio, having the craic with folk. And a few pints at the weekend o’ course." (Sweet Little Lies, p. 293).
Various Irish words and slang words in the book also amused me, but I was especially taken with craic. Here are a few more times it's used in the novel:
- "It was Padraigh Foy’s sixtieth, she said, and there’d be free beer and fierce craic in Grogan’s if he fancied it." (p. 94).
- “Just a bit of craic, Sergeant. No offense meant.” (p. 260).
- "She was just a barmaid in Grogan’s who’d flirt with her own shadow and she must have seen us having the craic a few times." (p. 282).
Besides enjoying the language the author uses, I found Sweet Little Lies to be a wonderful book, full of well-developed and quirky personalities and compelling in its ever-increasing suspense about which of the characters is involved in the murder at hand and why and how they did it. Like all mysteries that I love the most, Sweet Little Lies uses food to advance the story and round out the character development, like these:
"I sit by the fridge. Eat a bag of grated cheese like a packet of crisps. 'Disordered eating,' a counselor called it. 'Often the result of an aloof or aggressive relationship between a father and daughter.' ... I take the cheese, an overripe kiwi and a can of cherry Coke and walk up the two flights to my bedroom." (pp. 88-89).
"'Tell you what, I’ll get chef to make you something. Anything you want. Peach and honey pancakes, maybe? You could never resist them.' Some things never change. Dad trying to manipulate me with sugar is one of them." (p. 118).
"I ate malt loaf for lunch that day. Four fat wedges slathered thick with real butter. Gran loved to watch people eat, always complaining that the only person who ever called to the house was that scrawny one from the Department of Social Protection and you’d be all day trying to get her to eat a biscuit. 'Not like you,' she’d say, cheerleading me through a plate of ham sandwiches that you wouldn’t give to a wrestler. 'Now you wouldn’t get blown down in a strong wind, my Catrina.'" (p. 6).Aromas also contribute to the effectively vivid sense of drama that I enjoyed throughout the book. Cat says, for example: "If domestic smuggery could be bottled it would smell just like this. Topnotes of gingerbread and basenotes of cloves." (p. 218).
As you might imagine, there's also a lot about drink in this book. I liked this:
"'That which does not kill us makes us stronger,' claimed Nietzsche, or Kanye West, depending on your cultural frame of reference, but exorbitant wine consumption must be the one exception because I certainly don’t feel strengthened by last night’s two-bottle bender. I feel annihilated." (p. 197).Cat doesn't overdo the philosophy, but when she does, it's good. She describes the neighborhood where she stays in Ireland to do some interviewing:
"There’s also a bookie’s, three pubs and a funeral parlor. Somewhere to eat, somewhere to shop, somewhere to bet, drink and die. A blueprint for a life simply lived." (p. 295).