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Book Title: Ghosts & Lightning|
The author of the book: Trevor Byrne
ISBN 13: 9781847673299
Edition: Canongate Books
Date of issue: August 1st 2009
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.88 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1419 times
Reader ratings: 7.4
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Denny Cullen, 21st-century Dubliner at university in Wales, thinks he's left home, but home isn't finished with him yet. Called back for his mother's funeral, he soon seems to be back in the groove, with relatives and friends who are going nowhere fast and doing nothing much (though, this being Dublin, they do it with considerable wit and inventiveness).
His sister Paula senses a ghost in the house she and Denny are allowing to go to rack and ruin; it might be her alcohol-fuelled imagination but then again it might be composed of memories of their dead mother, their absent father, the brothers from whom they are estranged and much other baggage. Before Denny can move on, he needs to decide which bits of his past he wants to leave behind, and which he needs to take with him. Though this is very much a novel of a young man in 21st-century Dublin, he is also a man with a sense of a long historical and mythological past (and his surname is no accident).
One reason this novel lives so vividly for the reader is the liveliness and realism of its voices. Denny's friends and family constantly come alive off the page: the insanely brave Paula, Uncle Victor the long-term book-borrower, gentle Pajo the emaciated recovering drug-addict with Buddhist tendencies ("he's mad into this kind o thing; life after death, ghosts, yetis, any and all religions. Basically anything there's fuck all proof for, Pajo'll believe it.")
Both fulcrum and observer, Denny himself is a joy of a voice. He is sardonically honest about himself:
Probably why I can't get a job, some witch's hex. Well, hat or the fact I never filled out them forms at the FAS office
but also endlessly imaginative, as when he describes his friend Maggit having second thoughts about something he's stolen:
And wha about the kid who owned it? Is he not gonna miss it?
Maggit thinks about this. He looks into the bag again,
like he might o robbed the answer as well by accident.
or when, travelling west, he finds himself overwhelmed by a sense of history:
… Dungloe, Annagary, Glencolumbkille. Never even heard o those places before, never mind been to them, and yet I dunno why, it all seems dead familiar. Mad that, isn't it? This feelin I get that nothing is new, not really.
There are a lot of very funny scenes in this novel – the car being constantly turned upside down, the funeral dominated by a priestly speech impediment. The variation of pace is remarkable too, from frenetic to leisurely and back, but above all the register of language, which accommodates colloquial and lyrical effortlessly. It's a terrifically assured and likeable debut.
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