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 charming ne'er-do-well returns to his haunted Irish hometown to uncover the truth about his mother in this "supernaturally skilled debut" (Vanity Fair
) and turns the town--and his life--upside down.
Having been abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, Mahony assumed all his life that his mother wanted nothing to do with him. That is, until one night in 1976 while drinking a pint at a Dublin pub, he receives an anonymous note implying that she may have been forced to give him up. Determined to find out what really happened, Mahony embarks on a pilgrimage back to his hometown, the rural village of Mulderrig. Neither he nor Mulderrig can possibly prepare for what's in store...
From the moment he arrives, Mahony's presence completely changes the village. Women fall all over themselves. The real and the fantastic are blurred. Chatty ghosts rise from their graves with secrets to tell, and local preacher Father Quinn will do anything to get rid of the slippery young man who is threatening the moral purity of his parish.
A spectacular new addition to the grand Irish storytelling tradition, Himself
"is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy...wickedly funny" (Daily Express