Fans of the hardboiled mystery likely know Ken Bruen and his conflicted hero, Jack Taylor, who operates out of Galway, Ireland. These books are true noir, and I’ve followed the series for years. I have the latest, Purgatory, on my to-be-read pile.
One of the things at which I always marvel in these books is the way Jack Taylor gets beaten, maimed, and pummeled, yet somehow manages to keep getting out of bed in the morning. I’m reminded of the classic Chumbawumba song, “Tubthumping,” with its refrain, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down … I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down” (repeat 40 more times).
I now understand Jack Taylor better. Last week I was doing a lot of work in my backyard: painting, raking, and so forth. I ended up with big blisters on my hands; everyone thinks they are cigarette burns. Then, a few days ago, I took a spill off my bike that sent me flying head over heels. Tucking and rolling limited some damage, but I ended up bruised, contused, and black-and-blue pretty much from head to toe. The day after, I looked in the mirror and thought “Holy Moses! I look like Jack Taylor.” I’d post a picture, but I look like a prisoner who has been beaten by some particularly brutal guards, and it’s not a look that works particularly well for me….
Is this a case of life imitating art? I’m on the mend and doing fine, but this experience is giving me even more respect for Jack Taylor and the brutalities he endures in each book of the series.