No Never, No More

by Michael J. Malone

New York City, 1999. Manhattan was undergoing a momentous transformation: crime at record lows, the city awash in dot-com buzz, and young professionals taking over the city’s sketchier precincts – and pushing longtime residents further to the fringes.  Yet some things stayed the same. Declan Coulter, raised by his fiery Belfast-born mother in an Alphabet City tenement, is a holdout to an earlier era. He’s an urban hick who refuses to refer to his neighborhood by its trendy new “East Village” moniker. He’s a rugby player and an aspiring writer, with some success penning an oddly autobiographical children’s book series called Honey Bunny, but no luck getting his novel, featuring the working title The Apathy and the Ecstasy, going.

 

 

Blending Nick Hornby’s hysterical peeks inside the male psyche and Irvine Welsh’s warts-and-all portraits of the colorful denizens of the urban underbelly, No Never No More portrays Declan’s struggles to repair each of the trashed relationships in his life, including that with his mother, as well as his loathed ex-girlfriend, Tisa, before his 30th birthday arrives. Also on his agenda: finishing the novel, completing his hated “half-a-tat” – an unfinished Irish harp tattoo on his back that symbolizes both his fear of needles and his inability to complete tasks.

 

 

From the still-seedy shadows along Tompkins Square Park to the unique bonds between rugby teammates, the sights, sounds and smells jump off the page. A Bright Lights, Big City for the ‘90s, No Never No More introduces one of the more memorable anti-heroes in fiction.

“Funny, profane, violent, and thoughtful, Declan Coulter, a perpetually hung over, concussed rugby player, is one of the most intriguing characters to ever appear in Tough Guy American Lit.  Malone’s No Never, No More is required reading for any dude who’s ever thrown a roundhouse punch or had his heart broken by a dame"    

~ Jay Atkinson, Professor of Journalism, Boston University

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