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Himself

Himself

Escrito por Jess Kidd

Narrado por Aiden Kelly


Himself

Escrito por Jess Kidd

Narrado por Aiden Kelly

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (75 valoraciones)
Longitud:
9 horas
Publicado:
Mar 14, 2017
ISBN:
9781508234197
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

"A highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets…Lushly imagined, delightfully original, and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page" (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans).

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother's disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony's presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men), and suspicion (the pious).

Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. This improbable duo concocts an ingenious plan to get the town talking about the day Mahony's mother disappeared and are aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead.

Himself is a simmering mixture-a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets, and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers.
Publicado:
Mar 14, 2017
ISBN:
9781508234197
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

Jess Kidd is the award-winning author of Himself, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, and Things in Jars. Learn more at JessKidd.com.

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Reseñas de lectores

  • (4/5)
    Author, Jess Kidd uses an interesting approach to the supernatural element that she attempts, and mostly succeeds in accomplishing, in this book. The book is actually laughable...and I mean that in a good way...in places. Her characters are so entirely "Irish"... and I also man that in a good way. Her opening passages are so catching and are what sets the mood for the entire book and holds the readers attention. You just have to find out if this tiny babe who witnessed the death of his mother and nearly became a victim "himself" would succeed in finding the "why" of the matter and solve all the questions he has had his entire life about his existence and his "talents". Now I need to find her second book.
  • (5/5)
    what a crazy and fun ride with great characters
  • (2/5)
    I read this as part of my "eavesdropping book club," the book club that meets close enough to my work area that I can accidentally overhear spoilers for books I might one day read. I doubt, though, that I would have ever read this particular book on my own.This book felt overstuffed. There is an entire village peopled with sooo many with quirky folks. There is a supernatural element that expands the population of the village with even quirkier ghosts. There is a murder mystery with a little old lady who is a self-proclaimed detective. There's a roguish protagonist whose handsome appearance alone threatens to upset the status quo and sets off more than one romantic storyline. There's ample exploration of the Irish culture and setting.And the author lingers forever over each of these elements. On and on and on.Until such point as it is time to wrap some stuff up and then suddenly everything is abrupt and sudden and barely explained at all. The ending alone cost this book a full star in my rating.
  • (5/5)
    4.5 Magical and delightful, was not at all ready to leave this small Irish town nor these wonderful characters. Mahoney, raised in an orphanage, come to Murdering to uncover the truth about the young mother he never knew. He creates quite a stir with his Byronic good looks, sets hearts a quivering, but not all because many in this place are holding secrets and one is a murderer. He meets some amazing characters, willing to help him with his quest: the old Mrs., Cauley, who was quite a stage sensation in her youth and still has vestiges of her bold character, Bridget Doosey, who has talents that are unseen, and the intrepid Shauna, a young women who falls hard to Mahoney.Magical realism, humor, the paranormal all combine in this enchanting story. Mahoney has an unforeseen talent, like his mother before him, he can see and talk to ghosts, and his return stirs all the town's residents, living and dead. So much humor, I laughed continuously, smiled often. Mrs. Cauley owes a debt of gratitude to Jane Austen's Collected Works, War and Peace and a few other large tomes, after all books do save lives. There is one part of only a few paragraphs that is quite unsavory, concerning a dog and some violence because as I said there is a murderer about and he is bent at not having his secret uncovered.More plot oriented than Lincoln in the Bardo, but if you enjoyed that one you will probably love this one.
  • (5/5)
    Dark humor, mystery, and spookiness span several generations in small-town Ireland
  • (4/5)
    The plot and mystery of this novel were a bit predictable, but I loved the characters, the small town, the light supernatural elements, and the references and alignment with J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World.
  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    Thank goodness for friends who bug you to read something you'd normally never pick up. I finally got around to this & what a wonderful, magical story it is. It begins with the premise of an orphan searching for the mother he never knew & ends up delivering a tale full of humour & mystery.Mahoney is a charming young man who was left at an orphanage as a baby. All he has is a faded photo of his mother. Naturally he has questions & returns to her home town of Mulderrig to find out what happened. There he hooks up with Mrs. Cauley, an elderly actress who revels in shaking up the residents of this sleepy little town.At it's heart, it's a possible murder mystery. But there's so much more to enjoy here. Mulderrig is not your typical village. It's a place where you might see frogs perform synchronized dance moves, trees eavesdrop on conversations & books can attack when threatened (do NOT piss off an anthology of Russian literature). The prose is gorgeous & you'll find yourself grinning as you turn the pages. The cast ranges from sinister to downright wacky & the dialogue is frequently hilarious. And although many of the characters are already dead, that doesn't stop them from weighing in with their opinions. There's a strong theme of Irish folklore & mysticism that underlies the story & you start to believe anything can happen. It's a book that is difficult to stick in one category & reminded me of The MIlagro Beanfield War & The Shadow of the Wind. Magical other worldly forces interact with the living & the result is a story that is touching & funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it & will now become one of those annoying people who pushes this on other readers.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (4/5)
    HIMSELF is one of the most unusual mysteries I’ve read; the experience was like getting pulled into a vivid 20th century Irish folk tale. Set in the small village of Mulderrig, this wild story alternates between the 1970s and 1940s/50s. Mahony grew up in a Dublin orphanage, with very few clues about his beginning. When he finally gets a lead, 26-year old Mahony travels back to Mulderrig determined to find out what became of this mother, stirring up all kind of chaos in the process. The book is full of quirky, funny, tragic characters, both living and dead. Mahony can communicate with the dead, sometimes they’re helpful, other times not so much. Loved that Mahony was referred to as “a [County] Mayo Heathcliff.” I enjoyed the blending of magical realism into the twisted mystery. The lyrical language and dark humor were also a delight. Impressive debut!Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    A beautiful and atmospheric debut from Jess Kidd, ‘Himself’ tells the story of Mahoney, an orphan who returns to Mulderigg, the village where he was born, in order to find out what happened to his young mother. Aided by a cantankerous, but wonderfully devilish old former actress, along with a few other misfits from the village (and a few of the local ghosts), Mahoney starts to wade through the lies that the bitter residents of Mulderigg have woven around the story of his mother’s disappearance. Strewn throughout with dark humour, magic realism, a few sad moments (but many touching ones too), and a cast of believable characters (and numerous wigs!) Jess Kidd has created a story that frankly, I didn’t want to end. I look forward to more writing from her!
  • (3/5)
    “So what brought you here?”I wanted a bit of peace and quiet.Do you know on the map there’s nothing at all around you?“It’s the arse end of beyond you’re after then?”Mahony looks thoughtful.Do you know? I think it is.“Well, you found it.”Hang on to the book tightly. Orla Sweeney’s murder in the prologue will tear your heart out. In May of 1950, an Irish teenage mother from the tiny village of Mulderrig, anxiously waits in the woods for the father of her newborn son to arrive. She hopes to obtain emotional and financial support but when he arrives, she receives a death sentence.“His first blow: the girl made no noise, her dark eyes widened. She reeled a little as she bent and put the baby down. The man stood waiting…when she was still…he wrapped her in sackcloth…He laid her in a well-made grave…He remembered that he must also claim their child or his work would not be done. [While he had dispatched the mother] the forest had hidden the infant. Great ferns had unfurled all around the child, tree roots had surrounded him, and ivy had sprung up to cloak him..[s]o that…he could not find the child, however hard he searched.”The child was discovered in the woods and someone from the village mysteriously drove to Dublin, placing him at the front door of the St. Anthony Orphanage cocooned in a basket like baby Moses. His life at St. Anthony’s was smeared by the stigma of his illegitimate birth. Sister Veronica, the bane of his existence, made sure he realized that he was a stain on humanity. He was given the name of Mahony.There was one ray of sunshine in his life – Sister Mary Margaret. This kindly nun confided to him the true nature of his arrival including the fact that there was a letter with him in the basket; a fact that Sister Veronica rebuked. Sadly, Sister Mary Margaret died when he was 7. When she appeared before him holding her deadly cancerous tumor in her hands, he would forever have one foot in the world of the living and the dead. This ability to see the dead as they go about their non-corporeal lives plays an important part in Mahony’s life.Mahony, now 26 years old, is seated at a Dublin pub knocking back a pint when he is approached by a local priest. Sister Veronica has died and a letter in her possession is addressed to Mahoney. “For when the child is grown.” Inside the envelope was a picture of a girl with a half-smile holding a blurred bundle, high and awkwardly, like found treasure…"Your name is Francis Sweeney. Your mammy was Orla Sweeney. You are from Mulderrig, Co. Mayo. This is a picture of yourself with her. For your information she was the curse of the town, so they took her from you. They all lie, so watch yourself, and know that your mammy loved you."Pocketing the letter, Mahony heads to Mulderrig to learn what happened to his mother. What made her the curse of the town? Where did they take her? Who brought him to the Dublin orphanage? Who is this ally that warns him about the town?When the local bus pulls up to a stop in the sleepy-eyed stillness of Mulderrig, its lone passenger, a rakishly handsome Mahony, steps down from the past to turn Mulderrig upside down. His search will shake out long buried secrets, bring threats on his life and endanger those helping him to uncover the truth. Mahony’s complicated search is alternated with a third-person narrator giving the reader Orla Sweeney’s short life story. We learn things that Mahony/Francis will never know.Prominent characters include – the town constable, Sergeant Jack Brophy, a “strong square wall of a man…[who has a soothing affect] on the mad, the bad and the imaginative…whether off duty or on” – Tadhg Kerrigan, owner of Kerrigan’s pub, the first to greet Mahony and the first to suspect that his visit has something to do with Orla Sweeney – Mrs. Cauley, “an aging actress and brash anarchist” who arrived at the local inn, the Rathmore House, over 20 years ago and never left. She spends her final days harassing the local denizens, and Father Quinn, the local corrupt priest, in particular. She bonds with Mahony and they begin a systematic investigation to determine who was his father! And who was responsible for Orla’s fate.My favorite character is Mrs. Cauley. She holds her head high despite rapidly declining health and failing looks. There’s a fiery spirit inside the broken body that refuses to give up. She seems to have some paranormal powers. Although she can’t see the spirits, she can sense their presence. She lives to twist the knickers on all the hypocritical and devious residents responsible for making Orla’s life so miserable and turned their backs on her in her time of need.And as we have seen earlier, the spirits long dead float around Mahony, day and night, like long strands of gossamer. Some engage him directly and others just take up space in the story. There’s Miss Mulhearne, “a picture of respectable Irish womanhood” haunting her old school room and is surprised when she realizes that Mahony can see her. When he learns that she misses what she remembers as poetry, he finds time to join her in the closet and read some to her. Father Jim, the town’s priest and a sympathetic friend of Orla Sweeney, died mysteriously, and now haunts Mrs. Cauley’s commode. And perhaps the most important spirit, the little girl named Ida who witnessed Orla’s burial and was killed as she fled. Her appearances to Mahony provide clues to his mother’s demise.Lest I have given the impression that the story is leprechauns and scatter brained ghosts, the author has created a malevolent atmosphere throughout the book and there are several scenes of violence and brutality. Woman’s rights advocates will gnash their teeth. Life was pretty rough for women in the 1970s. I know. I was there. But women in this little village suffered a religion and moral backlash that was horrible.Jess Kidd, as a debut author, has undoubtedly a highly developed creative mind. The story is stuffed with unique characters both living and dead. I can’t shake the image of Mrs. Cauley’s ghostly suitor “drop[ping] his underwear and hopscotch[ing] down the garden path, his bare arse winking in the early morning light.”Without question Kidd knows County Mayo intimately and her writing style lifts the Irish brogue off the page. When Mahony first walks into Kerrigan’s pub, Tadhg greets him with “All right so?” And Mahony answers, “I’m grand.” She’s a “right eejit altogether.” A word of warning to the delicate, words that are most certainly profane in our culture are natural part of local discourse. Their favorite adjective is f***. Here’s a tamer use of that word with a twist. When Mahony asks the ghostly seven year-old Ida her name, she responds with “how the feck should I know?”There’s something wobbly about the way the story is crafted. The story feels forced or directed by the author, not dictated by the characters. At times, strangely placed vignettes intrude into an important story line. In one instance, Mahony learns important facts about his mother and while fleshing out the details, the author has Johnnie, Mrs. Cauley’s ghostly womanizer, sitting naked next to him. That was strange enough but the author then has Johnnie stands and “saunters to the nearby flower bed scratching his flute“. The juxtaposition of Johnnies’ itchy flute and Orla’s murdered body was downright weird.All said, I enjoyed the book. It was grand! Hopefully future works will reduce the number of side stories and useless characters concentrating on deeper coverage of the prime themes. Looking forward to the next book.
  • (5/5)
    I received a free advance review e-copy of this book and have chosen of my own free will to post a review. A young man was left on the doorstep of an orphanage as an infant and decides to return to his roots to see what he can find out about his mother, Orla Sweeney. He is a handsome, and charismatic young Irishman who sees dead people. This book is full of humor, magic, secrets, murder, and some very dark moments. Mulderegg is a small Irish village with eccentric and quirky residents. Jess Kidd is a true storyteller who has a way with words and Irish humor. This is a very well written book with an engaging plot as the young man seeks to uncover the truth about his mother’s disappearance and his abandonment. The author keeps the reader guessing throughout the book as to who’s the daddy, what really happened to Orla, and whodunit. This was a fun and enjoyable book with some very interesting and eccentric characters and well worth the read. I look forward to reading more from Jess Kidd in the future.
  • (5/5)
    This combination of murder mystery, James Joyce short story, Irish bar yarn, and folklore is very charming. But what stands out most for me are the occasional soaring flights of Irish-infused prose that have an extraordinary power of both conjuring a place and enchanting the reader.Mahony, 26, is a petty thief who grew up in a harsh Dublin orphanage, having been abandoned there as an infant. Upon the death of a nun there in charge of his case, one of the priests gives him a note in an envelope inscribed “For when the child is grown.” It reads:“Your name is Francis Sweeney. Your mammy was Orla Sweeney. You are from Mulderrig, Co. Mayo. . . . For your information, she was the curse of the town, so they took her from you. They all lie, so watch yourself, and know that your mammy loved you.”Mahony decides to skip parole and return to the village of his birth, Mulderrig (an imaginary village set in County Mayo), to find out about his mother and what really happened to her.The plot shifts between 1950, when Mahony was born, to 1976, when he returns to Mulderrig. Mulderrig, the author writes, is a place like no other:“Here the colors are a little bit brighter and the sky is a little bit wider. Here the trees are as old as the mountains and a clear river runs into the sea. People are born to live and stay and die here. They don’t want to go. Why would they when all the roads that lead to Mulderrig are downhill so that leaving is uphill all the way?”And about the town the author asks:“Didn’t St. Patrick himself admire Mulderrig’s trees whilst chasing troublesome snakes about the place? And didn’t he bless the forest as he lashed through the undergrowth?”After a storm in Mulderrig, the author writes:“In the field a flyblown sheep is lullabied by gentle breezes, her rinsed wool lifting. She’s an earthbound cloud! . . . The crows picking over the flooded fields are dancing the fandango and the farmers that applaud them are their biggest fans.”Mulderrig is magical for another reason. It’s inhabitants include both the living and the dead, and Mahony sees them all. The dead characters are almost as real as those who are living, and just as delightful. They are always close to someone like Mahony, the author writes:“The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged and the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill. For the dead have second-hand stories to share with you, if you’d only let them get a foot in the door.”The village harbors some evil individuals bent on revenge but also some brave and loving people who are dedicated to justice. The good people in the village are drawn to Mahony just as the dead are, and they all endeavor to help him. When Mahony comes to Mulderrig, the dead know they will finally be recognized: “They only want to be seen.”Mahony’s primary partner in his quest to find out what happened to his mother is the woman who lives in the boarding house where he takes up residence. Mrs. Cauley is a former actress - “once one of the greatest actresses to grace the stage of the Abbey Theatre” - who still has a flair for drama and performance, and who immediately takes a shine to Mahony. The feeling is mutual; Mahony comes to adore both her and her deceased former lover, Johnnie, who watches over Mrs. Cauley.Mr. Cauley explains to Mahony, “Orla Sweeney was the wild bad girl of the village. By the time she was sixteen she was knocked up, unwed, and Mulderrig’s dirty little secret.” No one knew who the father was. Many villagers hated her because she refused to live by the rules, and she tempted the men away from their wives.The village girls all look at the handsome, dark-eyed newcomer in much the way their fathers must have looked at Orla. Even the older women find themselves smiling at him. His charm beguiles them, but not all of them; not the ones who remember his mother and wanted her gone.Mrs. Cauley decides the best way to ferret out the truth is to question villagers during auditions for her annual play to raise money for the church. This year the play is to be “The Playboy of the Western World” by John Millington Synge. ["The Playboy of the Western World" is set in a pub in County Mayo during the early 1900s. The comedy tells the story of a lonely dreamer named Christy Mahon who wanders into a pub, claiming that he has killed his father.] She tells the villagers that “Mahony here has agreed to grace our stage as our very own Dublin playboy.” The excitement of someone new and the opportunity to be in a play with him brings out the crowds. And when he comes out on stage, they shout: “Here he is now. Here’s himself.”Sure enough, the truth starts coming out in small bits, as the list of suspects for Orla's murder shortens. Mrs. Cauley’s “investigation team” is joined by Shauna, who takes care of the boarding house and who is falling for Mahony, and Bridget Doosey, the remarkable woman who works for Father Quinn, the smarmy corrupt priest of the village. As they try to come up with the possible guilty party, Bridget asks: “Who would Orla really annoy?” Mrs. Cauley responds with her dead-on powers of observation: “The sanctimonious, the bigoted, and the pious.” A man who embodies all three traits, Father Quinn, tries to lead the villagers to shun Mahony. As Mrs. Cauley explains to Mahony: “Fear, guilt, and superstition, Mahony, it’s a fine way to steer the herd. It always has been.”She says further: “It is a truth universally unacknowledged that when the dead are trying to remember something, the living are trying harder to forget it."Meanwhile, Shauna doesn’t want to be thinking about Mahony all the time, but can’t help it: “She’s put him out like a cat a million times but like a cat he has a habit of slinking back and curling up in the warm corners of her mind.”As the exciting denouement approaches, you can’t be sure who will make it out of the final confrontation alive.Discussion: There are some great characters in this book. Mrs. Cauley - hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, funny, and wise - is unforgettable, as is the surprisingly brave, enterprising, and mischievous Bridget. Some of the dead, including Johnny, a little girl named Ida, and the priest who served before Father Quinn, are also great characters.Evaluation: I wouldn’t identify this primarily as a crime story, although it certainly is that. But it struck me more as Irish storytelling at its finest (of one of the characters, another says, “Ah, watch it. Half the lies [he] says aren’t true.”); an Irish folktale that conveys exuberant celebration of life, and the enduring power of love, by both the living and the dead.Note: Jim enjoyed this book a great deal also, which is saying a lot given the inclusion of dead characters.
  • (5/5)

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    "The pipes sing about a land lost, about forgotten honor and wasted bravery. They sing of sedge-edged water and white skies, of the mountains and the sea, of those who are gone and those who never even were." This book was a complete delight. It's a literary mystery, small town social satire and dark comedy with beautiful language (read with a variety of captivating voices by Aiden Kelly, the narrator of the audiobook).The prologue is set in Mulderrig, Ireland in 1950 and describes the murder of 16 year old Orla Sweeney while her infant son cries nearby. The baby winds up in a Dublin orphanage. In 1976, 26 year old Mahony returns to Mulderrig with a photo of his mother to find out what happened to her. Mahony is handsome, charming and very attractive to women. Nevertheless, the citizens of Mulderrig are not happy to see his return. Orla had been wild and a troublemaker and everyone had been relieved when she and her baby disappeared. His arrival leads to an outburst of superstition, threats, bribery and murder.Mahony rents a room in the same house as the retired actress Mrs. Merle Cauley. Mahony and Cauley conclude that his mother must have been murdered and begin to investigate, starting with the interviewing everyone who shows up for auditions for the annual amateur play. The two have a similar way of cutting through bullshit and pretension and make an entertaining team. Also, this book has lots and lots of ghosts. They are everywhere and Mahony and Ora share the ability to see them. However ghosts are dangerous because they don't lie and they reveal truths about the past that most people would rather keep hidden. Unfortunately, Mahony can't just ask his mother for the name of her murderer. "The dead are like cats, Mahony. You of all people should know that. They don't always come when they're called." I loved this book and would be happy to read anything else the author writes. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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  • (4/5)

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    "For the dead are always close by in a life like Mahoney’s. The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged and the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill. For the dead have secondhand stories to share with you, if you’d only let them get a foot in the door. "

    Mahoney, a handsome Dublin drifter, goes back to his hometown of Mulderrig to discover the long-buried secret of his origins. The townspeople believe his mother left him in an orphanage and then was never heard from again. Did she disappear and start a new life, or was she, as Mahoney suspects, murdered? All he has to go on is a photograph of him and his mother with a few short sentences written on the back.

    Himself is an Irish Spoon River Anthology with ethereal descriptions and supernatural interventions. It’s charmingly rural, replete with folklore and eccentric characters, but also eerie with disquiet. My favorite character was Mrs. Cauley, described as a looking like a benign, geriatric spider, boarding in a house among toppling towers of books and old sheet music. She’s tart, but benevolent, and she can drink Mahoney under the table. She takes up Mahoney’s cause to solve the questions of his mother’s disappearance, and her money and chutzpah are just the motivation Mahoney needs. She knows that the ghost of her first love is lurking around. He often loiters in her hydrangeas while she sits in her garden plotting with Mahoney.

    I was drawn to this book because of the Irish setting and the endorsement of M. L. Stedman (A Light Between Oceans). Several elements keep this book from being the usual hum-drum mystery: the gothic Irish setting, where the town itself is a living, breathing thing; the peculiar, enigmatic, and often hilarious townspeople that you get to know as well as your own kooky great aunt; and the fact that the dead of Mulderrig are also skulking around, visible only to Mahoney, indulging in their vices and prey to their temptations, even in their spectral forms. The writing in Himself is exceptional. It's rare to encounter such rich, apt characterization or creation of such foreboding atmosphere. There’s a ghost of a little girl whose tinny voice taunts Mahoney, the incessant drum of the bees who murmur about impending storms, and the trees who “hold their own counsel” and dig their taproots deep. They all portend murder as the answer to the mystery of Mahoney’s mother, with more murder to come.

    4 stars for the story, 500 stars for the writing. As soon as I picked this one up, I dropped everything else I was reading. It will grab you from the first sentence and won’t let go.

    Himself will be published on March 21, 2017. Many thanks to Netgalley, Atria Books, and Jess Kidd for this advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
    This review is also posted on my blog, flyleafunfurled.com

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  • (5/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    Mahoney was dropped off at a Dublin orphanage when he was just a baby. Now, 26 years later, he has come into possession of a note that tells him of his mother's name and where she was from. Mahoney decides to return to the small, west coast Irish town of Mulderrig to see if he can figure out the truth of his mother. However, Orla Sweeney was a blight on the town of Mulderrig and most of the folks are glad to have her gone, by whatever means. Orla and her son share the gift of ghosts-and the ghosts tell secrets about the townsfolk. When Mahoney returns and reveals his parentage, many of the townsfolk are put out and don't want the memories of Orla to return. With the help of an aging thespian, Mrs. Cauley, Mahoney will use his gifts and the town's fear to find out what happened to his mother. Himself is an amazing story of mystery, secrets, acceptance and a bit of magic. I was immediately pulled in from the beginning when we see Orla's murder and Mahoney's return to the strange town. I was especially interested in all of the ghosts that Mahoney is able to see and loved his interactions with them, especially Ida. Mahoney's journey took me to a beautiful and haunting Irish town in 1976. From an enchanted forest to a low-tide island and magnificent old buildings, reveal Mulderrig's appeal. Even more than the setting, the cast of characters is expertly drawn. Both the living and the dead receive full attention in the hunt for revealing Orla's fate. For me, Mrs. Cauley stole the show with her straightforward attitude and unrelenting will. I am in love with her comebacks and her promptly placed farts in church. The mystery of who exactly killed Orla kept me reading. I really wanted Mahoney to connect with his mother's ghost. I do wish there was more of a resolve there, but the ending was still satisfying. The mix of history, mystery, and grand characters sprinkled with a bit of supernatural created a wonderful world that I absolutely could not put down. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    It took me a while to get fully into this book, then I began "seeing" the main characters beyond just the words. I did get confused with some of the people in the story and found I had to rethink a couple of times when I discovered my error. It was both different and enjoyable.

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  • (4/5)

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    For a debut novel, this one hits it, if not out of the park, at least to the wall. The opening chapter is a combination of all of my favorite genres: mystery, action, magical realism, and fantasy. You see, there is a young mother with her child running from a murderous cad. She doesn't make it, but the forest hides the child so the cad won't find him. That's right! The forest hides him!Fast forward thirty years, and he is back. With the help of some very interesting and colorful characters, as well as more than a few undesireables trying to thwart his efforts, he returns to Mulderrig to unearth the truth. Oh, and did I mention that he sees dead people? Highly recommended.Thanks to NetGalley for this copy in exchange for my honest review. Published in October 2016, the book is available through Canongate Books.

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  • (5/5)
    ''The dead are like cats, Mahony. You of all people should know that. They don't always come when they're called.'' I added Jess Kidd's book when I first saw its deliciously creepy front cover and the striking title. It had all the right ingredients: Ireland during the 70s, magical realism, dry humour, gothic hints. When the lovely Goodreads Ireland group members chose it for our quarterly read, it was a perfect opportunity for me to start reading. Plus, it came highly recommended by my good friend Maria ní Chnoic so what more could I ask? And I can tell you it has been a wonderful trip with an exciting book!''Here is a handsome stranger.'' Mahony arrives in Mulderrig in 1976, searching for answers about his parentage, about the disappearance of his mother, seeking justice from the members of the community. He is clever, extremely charismatic, attractive, aloof and a torchured soul himself. (...and can you tell I fell in love with him immediately?) However,he has some demons of his own to fight and, at the same time, a number of significant allies. It was the nature of these allies that made me think I was reading a unique kind of book.''For the dead are drawn to those with shattered souls.''Mahony is a shuttered soul, no matter how hard he tries to hide it, Orla was a shuttered soul, Shauna is troubled too. There is this large majority of the people in Mulderring whose lives have been plagued by secrets, sins, hatred and dogmatism. The dead demand justice for crimes committed by people with shady lives and motives. At the heart of this story lies an institution that is supposed to provide comfort and shelter to those in trouble: the Church.The ominous figure of the village priest is a recurring theme in British and Irish Fiction. The priest gives sermons about the dangers of superstitions and speaks against ''the wind of change coming from the cities.'' It is merely the favourite hobby of many members of the clergy who fear progress and the traditions of the ''pagan'' past alike. He considers Theatre a pagan notion of corruption and disruption and tries to build up his defenses when he understands that Orla has returned for retribution in the face of Mahony.The characters in Himself jump right from the page, both the ''good'' and the ''bad''. They are realistic depictions of a closely knit society who punishes those who wish to break free from suffocating beliefs and stereotypes. Mahony is easily one of the most fascinating characters I've ''met'' recently (I confess I am totally and absolutely biased and I regret nothing. The fact that Kidd's description of him reminds me slightly of my boyfriend doesn't help...) but for me, the real ''star'' of the story is Mrs. Cauley. My God, I loved her! She is a wonderful character, saucy and sassy and unashamed to put everyone in their place. I liked Shauna too. She is a calm, level-headed, tender soul. On the other hand, I hated Róisín, she disgusted me to no end...There is a great danger of revealing spoilers with this novel. It is a book that flows. Short chapters and interactions pass by like a flash and make the story move so quickly, you need to pay your fullest attention in order to absorb everything that is going on. The language is simple, but beautiful, it makes you search under the layers to look for motives and answers. There are elements of black humour that are able to make you laugh out loud in a story that blends Crime Fiction and Paranormal Mystery in a brilliant way. Kidd has created some memorable scenes throughout the narration. The introduction of Ida and a nightly storm that brought the Ten Biblical Plagues in mind are particularly powerful moments.I loved this book. I loved it as an example of Historical Fiction, of Mystery, of Crime, you name it. It is unique, beautiful and one more addition to all those fascinating books that we have the pleasure to read nowadays.''The night is clear from mountain to sea as Mahony climbs the dark ribbon of road. Ahead of him the starlit forest slumbers. Behind him the moonlight skims and breaks over the mild-skinned water of the bay, which is as still as milk tonight. For the wind is lying low, curled into the strong back of the deep-sleeping velvet mountain.'' If that isn't Ireland in a paragraph, I don't know what is....
  • (5/5)
    **This book was reviewed for Port Jericho via Netgalley**Kidd’s Himself tells the tale of Mahoney, an orphan come from Dublin to the provincial village of Mulderrig in search of his past and the truth of his mother's apparent abandonment of him. Mulderrig is a quiet town, harbouring hidden secrets, secrets ready to burst forth and reshape boundaries of mind, heart, and soul. In his quest for the truth, Mahoney acquires a friend and helpmate in the form of Mrs Cauley, an elderly actress who has retired in Mulderrig. Kidd presents an eccentric cast, and a complex storyline. There is a certain charming mysticism and elements of the supernatural woven throughout. Mahoney himself is gifted with seeing the dead, who respond to his presence by waking more fully. These ghosts, and other spirits of the land help if and when they may. This story has such beautiful language, it's enough to bring tears to your eyes at times. As so:'Birds spin through the glass air to land on washing lines and survey lawns sprinkled with breakfast crusts.’The lyrical writing reminded me of the a version of the legend of Cuchulainn I read recently. It is ironic to me that much later, towards the end of the story, mention is made of just this legend.There are inklings of Mahoney as a modern culture hero. He has come to Mulderrig to shake things up, bringing with him new ways of thinking and being. When he leaves, this sleepy little town will not be the same. Mahoney calls to mind Kvothe, from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingbreaker series. I cried at the end, once the full truth is known. I think I cried most for the collie, whose innocent trust and loyalty is so horribly betrayed. This is a book I am proud to have on my bookshelves, and will certainly read over and over again.????? If you like Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingbreaker series, or Tiffany McDaniels’ The Summer That Melted Everything, you will enjoy Kidd’s richly complex Himself.