The Rooster is CROWNED!

The 2021 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes, has concluded. Catch up on all the action!

New Finds

Irish DNA

Trevor Byrne's Ghosts & Lightning offers up yet another fine Irish storyteller.

Book Cover There was a time in the mid-’90s when I found myself interviewing a long skein of Roddys, Patricks, Colums, and Seamusi (sic)—I reached the scientifically indefensible but understandable conclusion that there was a storytelling gene and these Irish lads were disproportionately gifted with it. Young Trevor Byrne’s freshman effort, Ghosts & Lightning (Doubleday), reinforces this belief with gusto.

Denny Cullen’s mother dies and so he returns from self-exile in Wales to the low-life streets of his boyhood, Dublin. His relatives and pals are a gaggle of calamities. Byrne’s narrative had already won me over but describing his substance-abusing buddy Pajo—”he smells like a breach of the Kyoto agreement”—sealed the deal.

Denny, who is a decent sort among a flotilla of human shipwrecks, orbits around the twin polarities of the dole and dope. Being a disaffected twenty-something, he finds himself bouncing from one (humorous) misadventure to another—parties, séances, funerals (yes, a ghost makes an appearance), all narrated in the gritty patois of Dublin’s tough boulevards.

Such is the evidence of a pythonic talent in Byrne’s first opus that even though it is a satisfying read, I’m looking forward to more from young Trevor Byrne (reportedly his next novel’s working title is taken from Paradise Lost)—let’s hope the wait is not a long one.
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