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Not Quite a Fairy Tale by Cee Liddy (Penguin)

Article by Chris Mills, Hughes and Hughes Dundrum ©.
Posted in | .

Cee Liddy’s first novel follows his well-received collection of short stories entitled I Love you but… (40 fights between husbands and wives). This is a modern fairy-ish tale (it begins ‘once upon a time’ after all) about a girl, a boy and a fair few frogs (ten to be precise). The two main protagonists, John and Evelyn meet one evening in January 1989 at a heavily gate crashed student party in Dublin. However, they do not fall in love; perish the thought, this is not really a fairy story.John and Evelyn’s first encounter is memorable, though for John the consequences are painful: an injury to his right arm on falling out of a three-wheeled Ford Cortina. They are both students at Trinity College and I was rather impressed to find that Evelyn was studying engineering.

The novel is a lively read peopled with a large cast of boyfriends auditioning for the role of prince. It is a light-hearted, witty tale yet with a few sharp edges, spanning twenty years worth of loving, losing and trying to find a mate. Liddy probes and pokes at the differences and misunderstandings arising between men and women as they try to find Mr or Mrs Almost Right. Sadly, Evelyn finds more frogs than princes; Gary sporting Doc Martins with florescent laces (who lets Evelyn do his assignments) and Shane the would-be rock star (who allows her to pay the bills) are but two of them. I will not spoil the plot by revealing more. Suffice to say that Evelyn has worked out a mnemonic to help her remember the qualities that she is looking for in a man. It goes like this: GITH-TH-SSS.If you want to know what it means, read the book.