The Luck of Ginger Coffey has an intriguing figure as its central character. Ginger is an amiable, well-meaning, but deeply flawed man, unable to relinquish his own dreams of grandeur even when his family’s financial welfare is at stake. Moore has drawn him in many regards as a quintessential Irishman, full of charm and blarney, fond of an occasional whiskey, and given to wearing a jaunty Tyrolean hat with a small feather in its brim. Yet Ginger lacks the fatalism of many of his countrymen, and it is his optimism that has led him to emigrate to Canada, where he hopes to leave his undistinguished past behind him and start afresh.
Ginger has come to Montreal as the representative for three Irish firms, all of which soon dispense with his service upon learning that the gulf between his claims of expertise and his actual abilities is very wide indeed. It is a setback which is symptomatic of Ginger’s character flaws in general, for well-intentioned though he may be, he is at heart irresponsible and self-deluding—traits which have devastating repercussions in his personal life.
Moore reveals much of Ginger’s personality through his character’s thoughts, and the portrait that emerges is one of a proud, emotional man whose ability to rationalize, rather than understand, his setbacks allows him little room for personal growth. Throughout the book, Ginger repeatedly hides his failures from Veronica and Paulie, seemingly unaware that their respect for him will plummet when they discover his deception. His dishonesty results from his own need to believe in himself as a man of great talent and potential, and his false pride leads him to refuse a promotion from the one character who shares his belief—Mr. Brott of the diaper service—because he believes that a job as Brott’s assistant would be no better than his former positions in Ireland. So...
(The entire section is 767 words.)