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Himself: A Novel Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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"[A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well." (New York Times Book Review)
"Over in Dublin, Jess Kidd’s Himself is her supernaturally skillful debut. Irish eyes are glowing." (Vanity Fair)
"For the love of all that’s right and true in the world, you’ve got to read Jess Kidd’s debut Himself (Atria), a fabulously imaginative, darkly comic Irish tale set 'in the arse-end of beyond' in a village called Mulderigg. Reading this picaresque novel is like nursing a pint in a pub while a seanchaí, a traditional storyteller, trills the air with magic and mystery and a local modulates the narrative with irreverent commentary from a stool in the corner...In Mahony, the author has created a literary descendant of Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones” (also a foundling with parental issues), and in Mulderigg she’s imagined a literary neighborhood akin to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Macondo, a place populated with eccentric characters, living and dead. The plot races to an ending of Biblical proportions (as most Irish tales do) and it’ll bring tears to your sorry eyes and joy to your hardened heart." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"[A] whimsical mystery… That’s the pleasure of Himself — the way the novel’s plot, with its delicate language and soft Irish lilt, wanders like lush green vines, never seeming to travel in straight lines. A villageful of characters emerge, all of them having a deft way with a line... The mystery here is how the living and the dead live side by side, and the joy is the music with which Kidd brings all of the characters to life." (The Seattle Times)
"Himself is Jess Kidd's confident, engaging debut novel. It has a captivating ensemble cast, great jolts of humor and danger, hair-raising plot twists and just enough darkness to make the magic feel true. A thoroughly enjoyable read." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Debut novelist Jess Kidd is so sure-handed that this reader didn’t blink an eye about that dead girl, or any of the other dead characters loitering about the town’s streets, homes, and stores… [A]n ancient, long-retired actress, holed up in the guesthouse where he’s staying, may be the most memorable fictional character I’ve met in years. She’s fully original and fearless, and her machinations with both Mahoney and the local priest are laugh-out-loud funny… Kidd’s memorable page-turner features a unique voice, a concoction brewed of magical realism and dark humor… It would be a pity to miss reading this fine, funny and entertaining story,” (Historical Novels Review)
“Himself is a classic, feeding the reader through a multisensory smorgasbord of Irish euphemisms…The snappy dialogue in Himself is delightful and a strong asset to Kidd’s flawless storytelling. The story breathes metaphors into sweet descriptive prose, pulling at heartstrings and bursting with humor…Foul play, fantasy, and a glimmer of romance wrapped up in a suspense-filled ending, makes Himself a delicious, gratifying and ageless story.” (New York Journal of Books)
“Mysterious and lyrical… Moving between Mahony’s present and the village’s past, Himself is spun like a fairy tale and paced like a mystery told around a slowly fading campfire. Kidd is brilliant at setting the scene and painting it vividly with a twisted, comic voice… In Himself, the author revels in the magical and supernatural, deftly and often humorously melding superstition and folklore with real personal tragedy.” (BookPage)
"[Full of] glorious characters, worthy successors to those of Dickens and Dylan Thomas...Jess Kidd is an author who shows a poet’s way with words and rhythm in her evocation of Mulderrig...[with] a plot of which Agatha Christie would have been proud...[a] beautifully paced, sometimes funny, sometimes sad and ultimately heart-warming book." (Electric Literature)
“In her exceptional debut novel, Kidd explores the dark corners of the human mind in small-town 1970s Ireland, creating a haunting story that moves between the supernatural and the mundane. A murder mystery on the surface, the story digs past the traditional whodunit structure to paint a rich portrait of village life... While the plot hurtles along at a rapid pace, leading inexorably to the heart-pounding final conflict, Kidd injects ample doses of macabre humor and lyrical description in this memorable story from a strange, bold new voice.” (Publishers Weekly (starred))
About the Author
Jess Kidd has a PhD in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s University. She was brought up as part of a large family from Mayo and now lives in London with her daughter. She has written the acclaimed Himself and Mr. Flood's Last Resort. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories.