Book Review – Himself by Jess Kidd…

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only his handsome face, a photograph of his too-young, long-lost mother, and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.Mahony also somehow wakes the dead from their graves, those folk who once lived here, with their foggy memories and hidden stories, floating greyly amongst the unseeing living. No one though – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby. Despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them knows.

Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, an implacable nurse and a caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and blackly comic debut novel creates in crystal-clear, musical language an unforgettable world of strange kindnesses, bloody violence and buried secrets.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The book is beautifully written. The story spans from the 1950s to the 1970s in a tiny village in rural Ireland. The author paints the village with her words so well that you could close your eyes and see it laid out before you. You can imagine that you know every single character.
There are some brilliantly written black comic moments. The characters all interact so well. Mahoney makes a fabulous protagonist and is likeable right from the off.
The story builds slowly and you feel an impatience to turn pages as you reach the final chapters, just hoping that the characters you love are OK. The ending was not to be expected and the book maintained a level of suspense that any good thriller certainly should.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Cannongate Books for my copy.

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