The Tax Inspector
"The day that Benny Catchprice was fired from the spare parts department of Catchprice Motors by his aunt Cathy was also the day that the Tax Inspector, Maria Takis, arrived to begin her long-overdue audit of the family business.
"But this is no ordinary investigation. Maria is eight months pregnant, Granny Catchprice is at war with her offspring, and Benny, her grandson, wants to become an angel...
"The Tax Inpsector is a dark and brilliant achievcement, a work of astonishing originality by one of the masters of the contemporary novel."
In the morning Cathy McPherson put three soft-boiled eggs outside Benny Catchprice's door and in the afternoon she fired him from the Spare Parts Department. That's who she was - his father's sister. They were both the same - big ones for kissing and cuddling, but you could not predict them. You could not rely on them for anything important. They had great soft lips and they had a family smell, like almost-rancid butter which came from deep in their skin, from the thick shafts of their wiry hair; they smelt of this, from within them, but also of things they had touched or swallowed - motor oil, radiator hoses, Life Savers, different sorts of alcohol - beer, Benedictine, altar wine on Sundays. She was the one who stroked his ear with her small guitar-calloused fingers and whispered, 'I love you little Ben-Ben,' but she was still a Catchprice and it was not a contradiction that she fired him.
From the Faber and Faber hardback edition, 1991.
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Last modified: November 15, 2001.