The latest novel by best selling author, Jess Kidd is now available in paperback as of 10/10! Do not miss out on this exciting opportunity to read an outstanding and riveting book this fall! There is also a giveaway being hosted here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
HIMSELF is the spellbinding tale of a young man who returns to the provincial Irish village where he was born in search of the truth about his long-lost mother.
When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.
His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one in the village – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.
Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.
‘An intriguing story of family secrets and haunting.’ Andrew Michael Hurley, author of The Loney
‘I love this book. It’s a magic realist murder mystery set in rural Ireland, in which the dead play as important a part as the living. It’s one of those books that has you smiling as you read, and that you plan to read again very soon.’ Louis De Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
‘Himself is a sort of Under Milk Wood meets The Third Policeman meets Agatha Christie. It’s a highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets and engaging characters (not all of them still alive). Lushly imagined, delightfully original and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page. A hugely enjoyable read.’ ML Steadman, author of The Light Between Oceans
About the Author
Jess completed her first degree in Literature with The Open University, and has since taught creative writing and gained a PhD in Creative Writing Studies. She has also worked as a support worker specialising in acquired brain injury.
Jess was brought up in London as part of a large family from Mayo, and plans to settle somewhere along the west coast of Ireland in the next few years. Until then, she lives in London with her daughter.
Jess is now completing her second novel, starting her third, and working on her first collection of short stories – many of which are either set in Ireland or have Irish protagonists. MR. FLOOD’S LAST RESORT is Jess’s first novel, and will be published by Canongate in late October 2016.
PRAISE FOR HIMSELF
“[A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well.”
—New York Times Book 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… 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.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Over in Dublin, Jess Kidd’s Himself is her supernaturally skillful debut. Irish eyes are glowing.”
“For the love of all that’s right and true in the world, you’ve got to read Jess Kidd’s debut Himself (Atria), a fabulously imaginative, darkly comic Irish tale set ‘in the arse-end of beyond’ in a village called Mulderigg. Reading this picaresque novel is like nursing a pint in a pub while a seanchaí, a traditional storyteller, trills the air with magic and mystery and a local modulates the narrative with irreverent commentary from a stool in the corner…In Mahony, the author has created a literary descendant of Henry Fielding’s ‘Tom Jones’ (also a foundling with parental issues), and in Mulderigg she’s imagined a literary neighborhood akin to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Macondo, a place populated with eccentric characters, living and dead. The plot races to an ending of Biblical proportions (as most Irish tales do) and it’ll bring tears to your sorry eyes and joy to your hardened heart.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“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… 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.”
“Debut novelist Kidd paints a darkly magical tale of a man who revisits his birthplace of Mulderrig, a small coastal town in Ireland, to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his mother’s death 26 years earlier… Joining Mahony on his quest for answers are three women who add even more color to this richly drawn mystery about a town with more than its share of secrets… Told in a unique voice with complex characters, the paranormal mystery will keep readers guessing whodunit until the very end—all while falling in love with the quirky cast. A darkly comic tale that is skillfully and lyrically told.”
“[A] whimsical mystery… That’s the pleasure of Himself—the way the novel’s plot, with its delicate language and soft Irish lilt, wanders like lush green vines, never seeming to travel in straight lines. A villageful of characters emerge, all of them having a deft way with a line… The mystery here is how the living and the dead live side by side, and the joy is the music with which Kidd brings all of the characters to life.”
—Seattle Times (These 4 First Novels Will Leave You Hungry For What the Authors Do Next)
“Himself is Jess Kidd’s confident, engaging debut novel. It has a captivating ensemble cast, great jolts of humor and danger, hair-raising plot twists and just enough darkness to make the magic feel true. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Himself is a classic, feeding the reader through a multisensory smorgasbord of Irish euphemisms…The snappy dialogue in Himself is delightful and a strong asset to Kidd’s flawless storytelling. The story breathes metaphors into sweet descriptive prose, pulling at heartstrings and bursting with humor…Foul play, fantasy, and a glimmer of romance wrapped up in a suspense-filled ending, makes Himself a delicious, gratifying and ageless story.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Mysterious and lyrical… Moving between Mahony’s present and the village’s past, Himself is spun like a fairy tale and paced like a mystery told around a slowly fading campfire. Kidd is brilliant at setting the scene and painting it vividly with a twisted, comic voice… In Himself, the author revels in the magical and supernatural, deftly and often humorously melding superstition and folklore with real personal tragedy.”
“[Full of] glorious characters, worthy successors to those of Dickens and Dylan Thomas…Jess Kidd is an author who shows a poet’s way with words and rhythm in her evocation of Mulderrig…[with] a plot of which Agatha Christie would have been proud…[a] beautifully paced, sometimes funny, sometimes sad and ultimately heart-warming book.”
“Himself, Jess Kidd’s debut novel, has an intricate, twisting, turning plot that weaves Irish mythology, magical realism and ghosts into a whodunit that is anything but typical of its genre… As Mahony’s search for the truth unfolds, Himself draws on elements of Irish folklore in ways that make Kidd’s novel feel both whimsical and ominous… Kidd combines these elements of magic and mystery with moments of wry humor and heartfelt emotion. A tribute to the classic Irish art of storytelling, Himselfis a delight from start to finish…. Discover: A young man searches for the truth about his mother’s past in a mystery that marvelously combines mysticism and Irish folklore.”
“A highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets and engaging characters (not all of them still alive). Lushly imagined, delightfully original and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page. A hugely enjoyable read. I can’t wait for more from Jess Kidd.”
—M.L. Stedman, bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans
“I love this book. It’s a magic realist murder mystery set in rural Ireland, in which the dead play as important a part as the living. It’s one of those books that has you smiling as you read, and that you plan to read again very soon.”
—Louis de Bernières, bestselling author of Corelli’s Mandolin
“Jess Kidd is a genius. Her prose sparkles with wit, savagery and startling originality. I loved it.”
—Tasha Kavanagh, author of Things We Have In Common
“Diabolical deeds, ferociously kept secrets, black humour and magical realism abound in Jess Kidd’s richly textured, thronging debut…The legions of murmuring, plaintive deceased are what most command our attention in the novel…both noirish crime thriller and rollicking comedy…Kidd has imagination to die for and a real command of plot and character.”
“An imaginative, witty study of small communities and their secrets.”
“This striking literary debut is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy… wickedly funny.”
—The Daily Express