Breakfast on Pluto


Author: Patrick McCabe

Title: Breakfast on Pluto

Genre: Gay/Lesbian Fiction

Publication Date: 1998

Pages: 199

Geographic Setting: Tyreelin, Ireland; London, England

Time Period: 1970s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Patrick “Pussy” Braden—a small-town Irish transvestite prostitute—offers up her story in this short novel.  Writing for her elusive psychiatrist, Pussy details everything from her conception between a parish priest and his maid to her days working the streets of London as a call girl.  In between, she is abandoned on a doorstep and raised in a foster home, deals with some shady (and dangerous) clients, watches her friends get caught up in the IRA during the Troubles, and even gets mistaken for a bomber, herself.  With her pop tunes, silk skirts, and tirelessly optimistic attitude ever present, Pussy’s vignettes from her life are simultaneously humorous, poignant, and tragic.  Booker Prize Finalist.

Subject Headings: transvestites, prostitutes, the Troubles, Ireland, foster children, Irish Republican Army

Appeal: first person narrative, episodic, character-centered, issue-oriented, details of pop music of the era, dramatic, flamboyant, humorous, optimistic, playful, sarcastic, colorful, eccentric, flashbacks

Three terms that best describe this book: flamboyant, tragic yet optimistic, episodic

Relevant Fiction:

Hello Darling, Are You Working? By Rupert Everett—described as “Candide in modern drag” (Kirkus); bisexual Englishman in Paris; humorous, but set amid a grim realistic 1980s background.

1972 by Morgan Llewelyn—part of the author’s “Irish Independence Series” set during the tumult of the 1970s; character-driven; fictionalized account of the events leading up to Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane—coming of age 1940s-1950s Northern Ireland; lavish language; family secrets; haunting, but with comic relief; awards attention.

Relevant Nonfiction:

I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell—darkly funny; an advertising executive turned transvestite and his nearly storybook, sweet romance with a male prostitute; entertaining and heartfelt tale of his downward spiral.

The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland by R.F. Foster—Irish historian takes an incisive and fun look back at revisionism and formulas in Irish history and literature.

Hope Against History: The Course of Conflict in Northern Ireland by Jack Holland—written by a Belfast journalist and told in a fair, straightforward manner, this book details the Irish conflict from the late 1960s to the late 1990s up to the Good Friday Agreement.

Name:  Elizabeth Ludemann

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