Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.
It was no country for young men. Or women ... Unemployment, emigration and do-it-yourself hair colour kits were once again a fact of life. Taxes were on the up, the IMF were on the way and there was a cash for gold outlet in Foxrock Village. But the signs for recovery were good - for me, at least. I was the chief executive of one of the few businesses turning a profit in this town, a shredding company helping to dispose of the Celtic Tiger's dirty little secrets. And I was getting plenty of love action - as the boy-toy of an attractive sixty-year-old woman who was totally rolling in it. I never imagined myself ending up as a gigolo. But, as the saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way-hey-hey! With presents galore, sex on demand and a hot meal on the table every night, life was storting to look up again. All I had to do to aovid focking it up was to keep my chinos buttoned. And, well, you can probably guess how that went.
That risk assessor ex of Sorcha's turned out to be right - it really was the end of the world as we knew it ... See, I thought the porty was going to last forever. I certainly didn't believe the current economic blahdy blah was going to affect people like me. But as I watched the shutters fall, one by one, on all my old haunts - Renards, Mint, Guess Meanswear - I was forced to question all the truths that I once held as sacred. Sorcha's boutique was bleeding me dry, the Deportment of Social Welfare had stuck two yahoos in the penthouse next door, while Oisinn - his business empire in ruins - hadn't been seen since he porked his cor at Dublin Airport and took off for who knows where. 'Isn't it wonderful?' the old man went. 'Times like these, they bring out the best in people like us.' But just when I thought the recession couldn't get any worse, an unexpected twist in the tale threatened to take away the most precious thing in the world to me.
My friend, Fionn, was being held hostage in, I don't know, Unganga Nanga, and the Government was refusing to send in a team of marines to extract him. Pack of focking cauliflower worriers ...
I wouldn't have minded being bound and gagged in a basement - just for some peace and quiet. My wife was up the spout again. My daughter had grown into a mix between Suri Cruise and a Chucky doll. And one or two other chickens - well, birds - were coming home to roost.
Suddenly, I realized what I had to do - go and get Fionn back.
Except what I didn't realize was that Unganga Nanga was no country for old tens.
Keeping up with the Kalashnikovs is the fourteenth novel in Paul Howard's 'Ross O'Carroll-Kelly' series. Ross books - annual No 1 bestsellers - have sold over half a million copies, are annually nominated for the Popular Fiction prize at the Irish Book Awards - where they have won the prize an unprecedented three times - and are also critically acclaimed as satirical masterpieces. Titles include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress, Should have Got off at Sydney Parade, This Champagne Mojito is the Last Thing I Own, Rhino What You Did Last Summer, NAMA Mia!, The Oh My God Delusion (chosen as Ireland's favourite book in Eason's 2011 125th birthday poll), The Shelbourne Ultimatum and Downturn Abbey.