Hello and Goodbye Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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Top international reviews
although this book comes as two story package, they are both available separately, and either way would work, but i would prefer to keep them together. it's easier to keep an eye on them that way, i wouldn't like them to run loose and misbehave!
the connecting factor is that both stories here are narrated by the dead, and in both cases, the evil dead, such is the malice localised in both. it wouldn't matter in which order these were read, but 'hello mr bones' is the first, and centres on one valentine shannon, previous victim of child abuse, forcing his abuser into suicide by blowing the whistle on him, and now having found happiness in finding love with a woman with her own issues and a learning disabled son, is about to feel the wrath of mr bones from beyond the grave, incorporating the terrible storm of 1987 to complete the scene. his new love and her child are not exempt either. an absolute chiller.
'goodbye mr rat' concerns the inhabitant of a funeral urn, the ash remains of i.r.a. hero?/villain?/hero?/villain?, gabriel king, returning to his home town couriered by his american girlfriend, narrating the tale. there are more twists and turns regarding the status of the storyteller as the story commences, and that coupled with the abysmal treatment meted out to the girlfriend by king's former friends and associates, draws you into how this dreadful situation can possibly be resolved to anyone's benefit. a terrible, terrible saga. it is absolutely brilliant, and indicative of the depths of depravity that can be dredged by the human soul, and also patrick mccabe's genius in putting it in front of us.
as with all his books, utterly compelling material from a master of more than one art.
'Goodbye Mr Rat' is narrated by the cremated Gabriel King, a former IRA operator, from within a copper urn. A 1981 hunger strike within the Irish Maze prison is associated with the killing of seven people in Altnavogue, including a 6 month old baby. Gabriel could not condone such behaviour from his compatriots. His dishonour and shame with his doomed destiny are told from within the confines of his tomb.
These two stories are chilling, weird and disturbing. They may be supernatural but maybe have a more macabre meaning to the writer and his black humour. Dark and striking they most certainly are.