Himself – Book Review




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 lies of his past. 

No one – living or dead – will tell Mahoney what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite his certainty that more than one of the villagers knows the sinister truth. 

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.

This book is really unusual as Mahoney, the central character can also see the dead. It starts with a prologue in 1950 when a girl is murdered in front of her baby. The main story is set in 1976 when Mahoney arrives in remote Mulderrig from Dublin, interspersed with historical flashbacks.

Mahoney was brought up in a Dublin orphanage and by the end of chapter 1, he has just found out that his mother was Orla Sweeney of Mulderrig. The reader is left to surmise that Orla was the girl murdered in the prologue. Mahoney finds out from old Mrs Cauley that nobody knows where Orla went and that his grandfather left when Orla was a child and his grandmother died 10 years ago and nobody admitted to being his father. But Mrs Cauley is also able to tell that Mahoney can see the dead. Neither of them believe Orla is alive, although Mahoney has never seen her amongst the dead either.

The book continues with Mahoney trying to discover the truth of what happened to Orla, both from the living and dead. He is sure that some of the villagers know the truth, particularly as some try to force him to leave, even attempting bribery. You’ll have to read it to find out more.

I highly recommend this book. A really different great read.




This guest review was contributed by Yet Another Blogging Mummy. This blogger posts about parenting, lifestyle, food, and book reviews for children and adults.

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