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Utterly Monkey

3.15  ·  Rating Details ·  456 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Danny Williams didn't mean to be a lawyer, but somehow he is -- and for up to eighteen hours a day. He's well paid, home owning, and twenty-seven but is also overworked, lonely, and frequently stoned. The plan was to leave the troubles of a small town in Northern Ireland for the big city in England, but one evening an old school friend, Geordie, bursts into Danny's shiny n ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published May 3rd 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 798)
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Jen Gould
Sep 18, 2008 Jen Gould rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: disgruntled lawyers
The opening chapters are the most accurate depiction of life at a big law firm I have ever read. This is not good news.

I kind of stopped caring once the actual plot kicked in, since I can't relate to exciting, sexy, interesting stuff, but if he had stuck to Biglaw-life no one would read the whole thing, so I guess I understand his choice.
Missy
Feb 21, 2012 Missy rated it liked it
If you can hang on until page 307, it finally gets entertaining. Then at page 344 it ends. Hmm. Take that as you will.
Maya
Jun 07, 2009 Maya rated it liked it
I've been itching to share my story regarding this book.
Check it out: One day, A came home and on the doorknob of his street-facing apartment was a Barnes and Noble bag. Inside was this book. Brand new. No receipt or note or anything. We both assumed it had simply been left on the wrong door, as it's a big apartment complex and the street gets a ton of foot traffic. So he left it there, hoping either the giver or receiver would recognize it and pick it up.
It stayed.
So I read it.
It was a fun r
...more
Amir
Jan 05, 2015 Amir rated it did not like it
“There was an intricate balance to Ballyglass. For every Protestant business, a chemists, say, like Martin’s, there was the Roman Catholic equivalent, sometimes right next door. It was an instance of the parallel universe becoming visible, as if two separate towns existed and somehow inhabited the very same space. There were different local papers, schools, churches, pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, shops, petrol stations, dentists, estate agents, insurance brokers, newsagents, car dealers. The o ...more
Thomas
Feb 20, 2016 Thomas rated it it was ok
Like a tame Irvin Welsh, Utterly Monkey is a blokey caper novel about two Northern Irish school friends reunited after years of adulthood and very different lives. One is a dull, unemotional London lawyer, intelligent, successful and completely lacking in character. The other, Georgie, is the stereotypical bad influence, a simple, emotional sort with a crude mouth and a talent for getting himself into sticky situations. The current mess involves absconding from Northern Ireland with a huge amoun ...more
Ian Mapp
Oct 19, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it liked it
Shelves: humour
Had a look at amazon and the man is married to zadie smith. Interesting. Must read white teeth one day.

This is superior lads fiction with good characterisation that makes you like. Its also very funny and could easily be made for the screen.

The book has Danny who has moved from Northern Ireland to work has a solicitor. He is disillusioned with his job and is trying to get into the trainee pants. There is a nice style of showing what people say and what they mean in italics that is applicable to
...more
David
May 06, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
Toward a Unified Field Theory of Humorous Novel Readers and Writers, with a Bonus Glossary of Anglo-Irish Slang and Cultural References for the Colonial Reader.

I think some readers and writers of humorous novels see themselves as Jane Austen, and others see themselves as Bertie Wooster. Women tend to the former, men to the latter, but that's only a tendency, not an iron-clad sex role. Jane Austens observe closely and comments wisely on the foibles of others. Bertie Woosters fail about with good
...more
Mandy Jo
Sep 13, 2011 Mandy Jo rated it liked it
This week’s headline? utterly - fucking - monkey

Why this book? one-dollar ARC

Which book format? Advance Reader Copy

Primary reading environment? Saint Patrick's Day

Any preconceived notions? read it before

Identify most with? definitely not Ellen

Three little words? “simian shoulder roll”

Goes well with? gulps of ale

Recommend this to? acquaintance from college

Ian is a Loyalist who is upset with England.

I kept having to stop and remind myself of that, because it grates against the stereotypes I've mem
...more
liz
May 06, 2007 liz rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book because it mixed good writing with realism -- which makes it nice to read. It's about two guys who grew up together in Northern Ireland, one of whom moved to London and made good and the other one who's a small-time criminal fleeing from the head guy he'd been dealing with (whose sister he sleeps with and is accidentally in love with). Of course Geordie's past catches up with them, but in the meantime Geordie and Danny have to work through the tensions between them (in ...more
Luca
Jan 27, 2015 Luca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-k
L'idea alla base del racconto non è male anche se non molto originale. L'autore però non riesce a sviluppare fino in fondo gli aspetti e le tematiche più importanti del libro e il risultato è un lavoro che appare poco approfondito e che lascia una sensazione sgradevole di "vorrei ma non posso" declassando tutta la storia. Si ha così la sensazione di una lettura di puro disimpegno, e certo non era questa l'unica intenzione di Laird. L' humour promesso dal Sunday Times sulla copertina (bella!!) è ...more
Martin
May 20, 2008 Martin rated it liked it
Picked this up off the bargain shelf at a local bookstore and was pleasantly surprised, not knowing anything about it. A well crafted story about the waining but still lingering effects of "The Troubles" on two men who were childhood friends in Northern Ireland. One has moved on to London and a successful if tedious career, while the other is on the run seeking sanctuary. The politics are told from the Unionist point of view, which seems to be somewhat of a rarity in most of the literature I hav ...more
Becky
Aug 25, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 20somethings plus
I enjoyed this book, it made me laugh in places and I liked Danny. It was refreshing to read about a character I could identify with as he is just so normal. Plus I always like the element in books of a bit of historical and cultural perspective, things that have shaped the characters.

This book made me smile and at times have to really stop myself from laughing aloud lest all the other commuters thought I was an insane person!

I think this is quite a male book, maybe intended for a male audience
...more
Paul Trainor
Sep 16, 2008 Paul Trainor rated it it was ok
I’m tired. Just finished this. A quick read taking me three days during which I put in long hours at work doing other stuff. Where do I get the time? It was disappointing really, not the depth or 'Norn Iron' (Northern Ireland) culture I was expecting, although Nick has a wonderful turn of phrase. Early in the novel, the awkwardness and peacock loutishness of a so-called friendship is cringeable but familiar from my 20-something dalliances. The book promised much but delivered a made-for-TV movie ...more
Karen
Oct 07, 2015 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A good paced read, with a preposterous 'friendship' at the centre of the plot and totally improbable scenarios somehow combining to create a funny story which doesn't really fall into any particular genre. This was read for a bookgroup and it will be interesting to see what the other readers made of it.
Phredric
Apr 19, 2011 Phredric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the opening, the tone was set and the characters introduced in a way that kept me reading. But the book didn't live up to the opening. Unevenly plotted - and at many times tedious - and too many pages about the tedium of office life, the zoo, Kilburn High Street. There was a good story to be told but he didn't tell it. Two stars because he did get me interested and because Geordie and Janice were well realised but I skim-read the last couple of sections because I really don't need to kno ...more
Stephanie Chan
This book was much longer than necessary. As I read it, I felt like it was a long journal kept by Danny Williams, going into every detail of the life he hates. Danny had much to complain about his job, friends, romance, etc. While reading it, I felt bad for this Danny character but it got kind of annoying at times. I don't feel that this is a book that requires much digging into but that might also be the reason why I didn't like it it that much. Overall, I would say this book is mediocre; there ...more
Jill Bates-moore
Feb 04, 2008 Jill Bates-moore rated it liked it
A good, easy read. It only gets 3 stars from me, because even though the character development is okay, the way the story is told is not as bold as the story-line dictates it should be. I found it difficult in some places to even visualize what was happening in the story, which is usually not a problem for me. It was a worthwhile read, and an overall good book, I just think it could have been better. Note: If British or Northern Irish slang terms bother you or hamper your reading experience, the ...more
Vivienne
The comparisons in some reviews to Guy Ritchie's films may explain why this book proved a complete chore for me as aside from his Sherlock Holmes films, I've not been able to sit through any of his films.

I only read it because it was a selection for my library reading group. I think it must have sounded much better in summary than it proved - at least for me. Just had no interest in the plot or characters.

I read it quickly because I just couldn't bare to have it hanging about 'to be read'.
Maura
Mar 29, 2008 Maura rated it really liked it
Mixed reviews from my book group on this but I loved it! Modern day story of two former childhood friends who had weathered tough times in Northern Ireland together , reunited in London for some unexpected adventures. It was farcical at times; laugh-out-loud funny descriptions of office life appealed to me. Some interesting insights into life in Northern Ireland in these relative "peaceful" days & reconciling that with the past.
morgan
Dec 07, 2007 morgan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one really.
this was one of the first books in my mission to read all the billions of advanced readers copies i got for free when i was working at borders. not so into it. the only good thing i can say about it is that at least it was quick. the storyline was predictable and never really kicked in. i am now inclines to believe the reviews that say the only reason this book was published at all is that the author is zadie smiths husband.
Harvey
Jul 20, 2015 Harvey rated it really liked it
- I enjoyed this humorous story of Danny Williams who leaves small-town Northern Ireland to become a lawyer for a big firm in London England, but becomes drawn back into the troubles of his youth when a childhood friend drops in to stay (while on the run from Loyalist Militia)
- Laird is Zadie Smith's husband - and apparently there is a gratuitous mention of her novel "White Teeth", although I somehow missed it
Drew
Jan 16, 2009 Drew rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Always a sucker for an Irish writer, I picked this book up at least a year ago, maybe two. I finally got to reading it a few weeks ago. Sadly, I came away disappointed. It was a very slow start, then a fast-paced middle and a weak ending. Characters weren't developed much, but there was hope for the plot or the "feel" of the locations. But, that puttered out as the climax approached.
Peter
Feb 16, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
A pleasant enough adult coming of age story, 'Utterly Monkey' examines what it means to be a friend and why it is important to remember where you are from. Some really funny scenes and a witty use of language, Mr. Laird has created a good first novel. I look forward to seeing what more can come from him. Great recommendation for fans of Nick Hornby.
Emily
Jun 18, 2007 Emily rated it liked it
Like many others, I suspect, I read this book because I was so damn curious about this man Zadie Smith married. And you know, I was pleasantly surprised. The book's a fun and fast-paced read, with a few good insights into the psyche of the British lad with regard to women and friendships. I'm eager to check out Laird's poetry...
Emma
Jan 16, 2011 Emma rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the intertwining of the characters own perspectives, though thought the transitions could have been clearer. Had a few chuckles, and the plot kept me interested to read on. Not sure that the conclusion held as munch of a punch as what I was expecting as I neared the end of the book.. ?
kasia
Mar 17, 2010 kasia rated it really liked it
Recommended to kasia by: Ruchama
http://kasiapontificates.blogspot.com...

A very pleasant and entertaining book, but also quite intelligent. One of the more realistic depictions of contemporary multicultural Europe that I've seen in awhile.
Mandy
Jun 15, 2008 Mandy rated it it was ok
Amusing book for an easy afternoon read. The only thing that was unexpected was how absolutely predictable the plot was. However, it is about an Irish attorney and has "monkey" in the title. That has to be worth something, right?
Jessamyn
May 20, 2009 Jessamyn rated it it was amazing
The great first novel by Nick Laird (who, incidentally, is married to Zadie Smith). This is a great book if you're interested in modern Northern Irish culture, and all the conflicts that go with it.
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Nick Laird was born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1975. He read English Literature at Cambridge University, and then worked for several years as a lawyer specializing in international litigation.

He is the author of two novels, Utterly Monkey and Glover's Mistake, and two collections of poetry, To A Fault and On Purpose. A new volume of poetry, Go Giants, is forthcoming from Faber in Janua
...more
More about Nick Laird...

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