Himself by Jess Kidd
Himself is Mahony, a young man often in trouble with the authorities of Dublin. Mahony was raised in an orphanage in Dublin and his whole life believed what he had been told, that his mother abandoned him on the steps. One day Mahony receives a photograph and a short note telling him otherwise and he leaves Dublin immediately to travel to the village where he was born, Mulderrig, to learn the truth of his mother.
Mulderrig is an unusual place, the superstitions are real, the locals are secluded and the place is full of dead people who wander around still living their lives. Mahony can see them. He can talk to them. And they lend a helping hand in sorting out the mess of Mahony’s life. The villagers recognize Mahony as soon as they lay eyes on him and are not so welcoming as the dead.
Mahony was always told and continues to be told by the villagers that his incorrigible mother got on a train with him in one arm, a suitcase in another and good riddance to her. No one is willing to drag her life out into the open again. Least of all her killer.
Mahony has an ally in Mrs. Cauley, a very old, very frail retired actress who seems to hold the town in her hands and somehow manages to stay alive in spite of that. Mrs. Cauley agrees with Mahony. His mother didn’t get on a train. The two of them use her annual production as a means to uncover the truth in this very closed village.
I happen to believe in the ghosts around us so I had no trouble with this part of the story. If you don’t consider the ghosts around you then you could look at it as an element of humor to the story. Superstition, belief in fairies and the living dead are a large part of the Irish psyche and wow, Jess Kidd gives them a real part to play.
I don’t want to give away too much about this story, nor do I want to say so little that you will think this isn’t something special and deserving of your time. I loved the language in this book. I loved the story, the mystery, the characters and living in the village for awhile. Just give yourself a bit of a feel for the place and enjoy the journey.