Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Himself: a Novel

Himself: a Novel / Jess Kidd, 375 pp.

Mahony was raised in a tough Dublin orphanage.  In his twenties, he receives a mysterious message about his parentage, directing him to the west-coast village of Mulderrig, the place the message alleges he was born.

Any worthwhile novel set in a small Irish village will be full of outlandish characters, and this novel is no exception.  Most notable is Mrs. Cauley, long retired from the stage, but full of stage presence, an acid wit, and one heck of a wardrobe.  While putting together a local production of The Playboy of the Western World, she vows to help Mahony learn the truth about his missing mother, Orla.  Many of the novel's characters are ghosts, also not unusual in Irish fiction, although these are an especially horny bunch.  But the all-important character here is the language, rendered so well you can hear it, and often laugh-out-loud funny:

"I can't vouch for anyone else in this town, for they're mostly a shower of shites..."

"He may have been a big fat arse of a Jesus but you'd forgive him that for his superior singing voice."

"So Father Jim, sitting scratching his holy bollocks on the commode there, is of no use to us?"

Mystery, violence, magic, suspense, and romance in one highly entertaining first novel.

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