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The Holy City


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Winterwood won the Irish Novel of the Year 2007 and was nominated for the 2008 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Breakfast on Pluto and The Butcher Boy were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize Breakfast on Pluto and The Butcher Boy were both made into acclaimed films by Neil Jordan

About the Author

Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, Co Monaghan, Ireland, in 1955. His novels include Carn; The Dead School; The Butcher Boy, winner of the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Literature Prize, shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize and made into a highly acclaimed film directed by Neil Jordan; Breakfast On Pluto, also shortlisted for the Booker Prize; and Winterwood, winner of the Irish Novel of the Year 2007. He lives in Clones.


The bastard offspring of a married Protestant woman and her Catholic lover, retired dairyman Chris McCool spends his days recollecting people and events from the late Sixties. He thinks of Marcus Otoyo, a pious Irish-Nigerian Catholic youth, and a failed affair with Dolly Mixtures, a flirtatious Ulster Protestant beauty who inflamed the locals of Cullymore, a rural Dublin suburb, with her provocative dress and habits. Otoyo's mixed parentage, Dolly's religion and sexuality, and McCool's personal history suggest the cultural tensions that pervade his narrative. Through McCool, whose name ironically evokes the mythical Celtic hunter Fionn mac Cumhaill (anglicized as Finn McCool) as well as a campy Irish hipness, McCabe brilliantly describes a socially fractured, consumerist Ireland populated by aging outcasts from formally dominant clans as well as immigrants representing a globalized Irish middle class. McCool retreats from this world to the Happy Club, an imaginary realm he inhabits with his Croatian girlfriend, where they listen to soft-rock hits and buy vintage clothes on eBay. Fans of McCabe's previous work, especially Breakfast on Pluto and Call Me the Breeze, will enjoy this weirdly absorbing and ultimately disturbing novel.--J. G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'McCabe has made unreliable narrators his stock-in-trade, and they do not come much more unreliable than sexagenarian boulevardier Chris J. McCool ...Throw in a dashing Nigerian and small-town Ireland at its most incestuous and bigoted, and you have a typical McCabe cocktail: black comedy delivered with tongue-in-cheek effervescence' Mail on Sunday 'Few people can make an unreliable narrator and a vigorously scrambled time-scheme as compelling as McCabe can, and his story telling powers are in full flow in The Holy City' Guardian 'A hall of mirrors ... [McCool's] intensifying madness, religious and sexual confusion and mental deterioration are painful to read and cleverly drawn; real and imagined events are veiled with McCabe's engaging lyricism' The Times 'A masterly handling of the macabre ... sometimes that numb surface generates a brilliantly deadpan meeting of the eerie and the comic' Daily Telegraph

McCabe (Winterwood) delivers a claustrophobic indictment of failed peace and love, as seen through the eyes of a nut job Irish baby boomer. C.J. "Pops" McCool, the illegitimate son of a wealthy, married housewife, is raised by a surrogate mother in the "Nook," a plot of land buried deep within his birth mother's estate. However, when candy-striped blazers and the Kinks enter his world, McCool dives headlong into the swinging lifestyle, developing an unhealthy attachment to a Nigerian teenager and dating an older woman. As McCool's cultural obsessions grow out of control, he acts on a taboo impulse and starts a chain of events that leads to his institutionalization. Nearly 40 years later, living with a doting wife, McCool attempts to reconcile his youth with his supposedly cured present state. At turns irate, mystified and nostalgic, McCool's reminiscences stand as a haunting rejoinder to his youth's groovy promise. McCabe's dynamic and flawed antihero is a creepy delight, the perfect guide to some very dark material. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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