Brian Finnegan’s second novel, Knowing Me Knowing You is a story about friendship, family, forgiveness, acceptance and the power of music to bring us together. In the summer of 1983, four friends promise each other that if ABBA ever reform, they’ll see them play live. Fast-forward 30 years and the Swedish supergroup announce that they’re reuniting for one special concert only in Stockholm. Maggie is determined to keep this promise – if she can find her friends.
There’s Dee – a successful business woman in Dublin hiding a dark secret; Daniel, a former pop star shunning the limelight; and Charlie, who has undergone a radical transformation in the intervening years. Maggie has difficulties of her own, including an errant husband, breast cancer, and troubles getting the much sought-after tickets. Fans of Finnegan’s much-praised debut, The Forced Redundancy Film Club are sure to enjoy this warm, charming and frequently laugh-out-loud novel.
The Sunday Times: Writing Between The Gender Lines
The Forced Redundancy Film Club, a novel about an unemployed woman who forms a film club with her former co-workers, has all the hallmarks of classic chick lit with one difference: its author is a man.
Brian Finnegan, editor of GCN, has told the story of how a "typical materialistic Celtic tiger girl" learns the value of friendship when she loses her job.
"At the centre of it is a romance, and the main character is a 36 year-old woman who thinks a lot about clothes and shoes, so it's likey that women will like the book more than men," said Finnegan. "But I don't want to rule out male readers either." Finnegan said he would categorise the novel as popular fiction rather than chick lit, but the label doesn't bother him. "It is commercial fiction, more like Marian Keyes meets Nick Hornby, and is full of references to popular culture. My best friends are women, and I think I understand how they operate. Labelling it chick lit narrows it down, but I don't have any snobbery about it."
The novel is a recommended summer read by Easons. Maria Dickenson, its head of book purchasing, said some authors such as Mike Gayle and Hornby have delved successfully into romantic fiction novels, but only from a male perspective.
"There could be an expectation on behalf of the reader that women would write with more authority about these issues, but that is not necessarily fair," she said.
Hot Press Review
It's contemporary Ireland. A disparate group of colleagues get the dreaded news. Numbing their shock in the pub afterwards, they resolve to meet once a month to watch classic movies in each other's homes to help beat the unemployment blues.
In the tumultuous year that follows their lay-off, the characters grapple with negative equity, collapsing relationships, childhood behaviour disorder, homophobic asault, alcoholism and the search for a biological mother.
Their film club becomes a crucible of transformation, a beacon of light along the path that each character must follow in order to turn the trauma of redundancy into a positive force for change.
With his zeitgeist debut novel, Brian Finnegan – well-known media commentator and editor of GCN, Ireland's gay magazine – brings us a warm, funny, touching, sexy, romantic, thoroughly enjoyable, brilliantly plotted page-turner, whose faith in the redemptive power of our love offers a ray of sunshine for our gloomy times.