Himself (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

"It is a truth universally unacknowledged that when the dead are trying to remember something, the living are trying harder to forget it." The short, elevator speech for this novel is that Mahoney, a young orphan returns home to his birth town to find out what happened to his presumed dead mother all the while receiving clues from the town's deceased. But this doesn't really give credence to the dark wit of of the carefully crafted characters, to the beautiful scenery, or to the devastating tales of everyone there, dead or alive. It doesn't point out how, despite the beauty of the town and the morally upstanding image they all present, everyone has been lying to both Mahoney and each other for the past couple of decades. And while the living are doing their best to pretend that his mother never even existed, the dead are all trying to remember anything at all.

— Kris Stephens


" A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well." --New York Times Book Review

" A] supernaturally skillful debut." --Vanity Fair

"A delicious, gratifying and ageless story." --New York Journal of Books

Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives a tip one night at the bar suggesting that foul play may have led to the disappearance of his mother, he decides to return to the rural Irish village where he was born to learn what really happened twenty-six years earlier.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony's presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider's ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of curiosity (the men), excitement (the women), and suspicion (the pious). It seems that his mother, Orla Sweeney, had left quite an impression on this little town--dearly beloved to some, a scourge and a menace to others. But who would have had reason to get rid of her for good?

Determined to find answers, Mahony solicits the help of brash pot-stirrer and retired actress Mrs. Cauley, and the two concoct an ingenious plan to get the town talking, aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, some from beyond the grave. What begins as a personal mission gradually becomes a quiet revolution: a young man and his town uniting against corruption of power, against those who seek to freeze their small worlds in time, to quash the sinister tides of progress and modernity come hell or high water. But what those people seem to forget is that Mahony has the dead on his side....

Centering on a small town rife with secrets and propelled by a twisting-and-turning plot, Himself is a gem of a book, a darkly comic mystery, and a beautiful tribute to the magic of language, legacy, and storytelling.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501145179
ISBN-10: 1501145177
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 384
Language: English