Himself by Jess Kidd is a book that made me physically respond to it whether in laughter or tears. It also made me lose sleep as I could not put it down. I stopped reading at 2:30 am and it awoke me 2 hours later. The main character Mahony, a rapscallion, a man haunted by the shades of his past, relies on a bevy of spirits both alive and dead to solve the mystery of his own life's inception. Magic this is; pure craic (good times) as the Irish say. As insightful as Erdrich or even Faulkner yet whimsical, lush and truly earthy--like the Irish landscape itself, golden as well as green. As I read this book I could smell the peat fires and taste the wind that comes off the wild side of the Atlantic.— Maeve Noonan
-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.