The basis of the story is that Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. has been laid off from his job and has no money. His friend, Brendan "Bimbo" Reeves also gets laid off and gets a redundancy cheque. With this cheque the two friends decide to purchase a 'chipper' or Fish and Chips van. Jimmy and Bimbo's friendship gets strained, because Jimmy starts to believe that Bimbo and his wife Maggie are planning the work behind his back.
It continues the themes found in the other two novels of The Barrytown Trilogy and focuses on the elder Jimmy Rabbitte and his efforts at going into business with friends.