once again a good example on reading a book at the right timing. I'm glad I simply gave up on my first try and re-read it again after reading skippy dies. It gave me more interest to the Irish history and though I didn't actually understand all the fact still I was not completely blind & appreciate the weight of the trouble on Major's shoulder more. I'd recommend reading this book to everyone, prior knowledege on Irish history not compulsory. even if you missed most of historical allusion, what's left can still enchant you, the humour and the heartbreak (because the saddest story can only be told through comedy). Also great imagery throughout, the crumbling hotel, the horde of cats, piano, derelict old ladies, pigs and dogs.Actually I'd have given it more star, but somehow midway through I was feeling this actually-not-so-long story to be very long. Probably my fault with short attention span etc, but what can I say, one star chopped off.