Monday, February 27, 2017
Himself by Jess Kidd
Oh, how I loved the first of Himself. The writing, the quirky characters, the Brigadoon-ish Irish town which was definitely NOT Brigadoon. I've mentioned before that I'm ambivalent about magical realism--loving some, but mostly not enthralled. The ones I've loved, however, have been marvelous with the perfect balance of magic and real life.
For me, the lyrical prose that makes the acceptance of magic in the real world possible--is the key to whether or not I can slip into the story. Jess Kidd's prose is lyrical and poetic, a mixture of images, humor, and story telling that flows almost like music.
Raised in a Catholic orphanage, Mahoney is 26 when he receives a letter and a phoograph that upends his previous assumptions that he was abandoned by his mother. He leaves Dublin and travels to the small village of Mulderrig to find out more.
His arrival disturbs the village in various ways. The entire village "almost" recognizes him from the first, but his personal charm carries the day... until the villagers realize that Mahoney is Orla's Sweeney's son. Then the secrets that have been long hidden cause a dilemma of emotions.
Almost everyone insists that Orla left the village with her infant 26 years ago, but old Mrs. Cauley becomes Mahoney's ally and abettor, and the two of them--the handsome young man and the fragile, bald old actress--investigate what they believe to be a murder.
Although a little ambivalent about Mahoney, I loved Mrs. Cauley and Bridget. I had several quibbles as the book progressed, but the first half of the book makes everything worth it, and I am eager to hear more from Jess Kidd.
Read in Dec.; blog post scheduled for Feb. 27, 2017
Literary Fiction. March 15, 2017. Print length: 384 pages.