Himself : [a novel] / Jess Kidd.

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 r...

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Main Author: Kidd, Jess.
Published: New York : Atria Books, 2017
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Review by Booklist Review

In 1976, handsome, charismatic Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a village like no other, searching for clues about his mother, Orla Sweeney. Did she run away after abandoning him at an orphanage in 1950, or did she meet a worse fate? Mahony fears the latter and finds an ally in Mrs. Cauley, a twisted old woman who rises to any challenge. Not unlike Hamlet, the two stage a play in hopes of flushing out Orla's murderer. Every page of Kidd's who-done-it novel is filled with magic, spirit, peppery characters, and ghosts of the village dead, including their pets, who are visible only to some. A wellspring emerges in a priest's house, ushering in a chorus of frogs. Sandwiches curl up and die, trees hold their own counsel, and a swarm of bullet-headed bees makes an appearance. Yet there is murder, too. Kidd mixes the darkest capacities of these villagers with carefully observed whimsy and fantasy. Readers who enjoy a dollop of whiskey in their tea will feel right at home in Mulderrig.--Dziuban, Emily Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In her exceptional debut novel, Kidd explores the dark corners of the human mind in small-town 1970s Ireland, creating a haunting story that moves between the supernatural and the mundane. A murder mystery on the surface, the story digs past the traditional whodunit structure to paint a rich portrait of village life. Mahony, a charming young man who can communicate with the dead, returns to Mulderrig, Ireland, his birthplace, in search of the truth about his mother's mysterious disappearance. As he dredges up the town's best-kept secrets, the line between past and present blurs, ghosts of the departed shadowing the footsteps of those still living. Mahony's quest is, at its core, a journey of self-discovery, yet his presence, much like his mother's, creates a ripple that churns into a tempest, ultimately threatening the stability of the town as a whole. The lavishly populated cast of characters boasts unique quirks, hidden motivations, and a dangerous instinct for self-preservation. In Mulderrig, Mahony learns, all is not as it seems; the departed prove to be the least of his worries. While the plot hurtles along at a rapid pace, leading inexorably to the heart-pounding final conflict, Kidd injects ample doses of macabre humor and lyrical description in this memorable story from a strange, bold new voice. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Mahony spent most of his life believing that his mother abandoned him at an orphanage. In his mid-20s, he learns that she was murdered, so he returns to the town of his birth to uncover the truth. Aided by the wealthy and wily Mrs. Cauley, her sidekick Bridget Doosey, and his ability to see ghosts, Mahony shakes things up and slowly unravels the dark secrets of a small Irish town. Set mostly in the 1970s, the novel also moves to the 1940s and 1950s to focus on the events of the protagonist's birth and his mother's murder. Superstition and magical realism permeate the book, and nature lends a hand in hiding and revealing secrets. Rich in characterization, setting, and salty dialogue, this mystery and journey of self-discovery features some sex and violence but nothing too extreme. Teens will find the quaint town of Mulderrig and its inhabitants fascinating and fearsome. VERDICT A charming addition for strong readers who enjoy well-drawn characters and stories with a hint of magic.-Tamara Saarinen, Gig Harbor Library, WA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.