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The Luck of Ginger Coffey

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  213 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Ireland was too small for Ginger Coffey. No matter how hard he tried to get on, he just ended up as a glorified errand boy. That was why he emigrated to Canada with his wife and daughter - certain that there, his manifold talents would be recognised.

By the time he has spent the passage money home, and a top newspaper job has turned out to be nothing more than reading proo

Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 28th 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1960)
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Mar 30, 2015 Allan rated it really liked it
This was the latest of my monthly Brian Moore reads, having come to the Belfast born novelist through his Belfast based books, as I have a specific interest in fiction set in the city.

This novel has nothing to do with Belfast or NIhowever; the protagonist, Ginger Coffey, is a recent immigrant to Canada from Dublin, a former Irish Army soldier who had inherited a sum of money, and being tired of the archaicways of his home, had secured jobs as a representative of three home based firms in Montrea
Jul 26, 2008 jennifer rated it it was amazing
Brian Moore was an amazing writer and this, along with The Emporer of Ice Cream, is my favorite. Ginger Coffey is near forty and starting over after leaving Ireland for Canada. He is not a lucky man. Though he has an upbeat attitude and is willing to try just about anything, job success eludes him and his marriage dissolves as his wife loses faith in him. Sounds depressing, doesn't it? It isn't. I got sucked into Ginger's persistent spirit and cheered for his little triumphs. A wonderful, wonder ...more
Nesrin L.
May 08, 2014 Nesrin L. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-2-pfennig
Okay, this book is one of those candidates where I would totally welcome a half star rating on GoodReads.
Good enough to get more than 2 stars... but I am not really happy with having to resort to give it 3 stars, still I chose that option.

And now to something completely different, well not completely, since it's about this book. As I mentioned in an status update the other day, I really dislike the protagonist called 'Ginger, he has a few charackteristics which I hate in men, so I will stop here
Jul 01, 2015 Patrdr rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
Ginger Coffey is an Irish immigrant in Montreal. It is winter, probably in the 1950s, and as the story begins he has worked his way through the family savings. The enterprises that brought him from Ireland to Canada have fallen through and his business connections at home have cut him loose. He is close to penniless, with a wife and a teenage daughter to support. And, true to the era, he is appalled at the thought of his wife working.

He is a bit of a dreamer and has, by his own lights, not accou
May 20, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent the whole book worried to death about Ginger. He's such a mess that I was anxious about his future. It was possible, though, to feel the time--the feelings and the mores of New Canadians in the late 1950s.
Ginger Coffey is, to put it bluntly, a misogynist jerk. But the thing is, he really has no clue. Everything is about him and his inability to succeed the way he wants to. His wife and daughter are adjuncts, just reflections of his failure. They are not people with their own lives and needs, they are there to serve him sandwiches, make him eggs, and (in the case of his wife) open her legs for his pleasure. (view spoiler) ...more
Nov 01, 2013 Maddy rated it liked it
Read this in a day. A sort-of-archetypal Canadian immigrant story with a very unreliable and unsympathetic main character, who has his shit together for exactly one chapter, only to fail spectacularly, stupidly and avoidably. That's not necessarily a criticism - I don't demand relateable protagonists, and the author does a decent job getting into the head of someone whose faith and hope override pretty much all the data he is being fed. And because it's Canadian Lit, his failing makes his wife r ...more
Mary Newcomb
Ginger Coffey is an ambitious man struggling to find his place in his new country of Canada. Having recently read Death of A Salesman, I see this tale as an interesting juxtaposition of talent and insight.
Another ‘immigrant’ story, this time of the Irishman James Francis “Ginger” Coffey in 1950s Montreal.

Ginger really is a loser – the ne’er-do-well who got by on his charm and connections at “home” but who isn’t willing to take a step down and make his way by working hard here.

Winner of the 1960 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction, and a Canadian classic, this gives a different look at Montreal than the author’s contemporary Mordecai Richler portrayed.

Read this if: you’ve read some Richler and w
Nick Lee
Aug 02, 2015 Nick Lee rated it it was amazing
Very well documents the main character's growth in times of struggle and loss. It is a compelling read.
Oct 03, 2015 Marissa rated it did not like it
This is just about the worst book I've ever slogged through, no idea where the high reviews are coming from.
Kev Mullen
Mar 23, 2013 Kev Mullen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked that the book shows the drudgery and pointlessness of work, painfully explores self delusion, has lots of drinking in it, and offers only minor redemption related to a momentary experience of an urban setting.
But there is a sense that is overly morally judgmental. Although I'm not sure if I am right about that.
Tom McDade
Nov 09, 2013 Tom McDade rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Newspaper proofreader by night, diaper delivery truck driver by day has crappy luck.
Peter McCambridge
Jul 07, 2012 Peter McCambridge rated it it was amazing

I LOVED this book. Reminded me a lot of Roddy Doyle.
Mar 30, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
such tight writing. The themes are universal.
Peggy Onlock
Good book
Evan Lichty
Evan Lichty marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2016
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
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“Love - why, I'll tell you what love is: it's you at 75 and her at 71, each of you listening for the other's step in the next room, each afraid that a sudden silence, a sudden cry, could mean a lifetime's talk is over.” 15 likes
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It’s staying with [them] now because [they] need you; it’s knowing you... will still care about each other when sex and daydreams, fights and futures—when all that’s on the shelf and done with.”
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