Kidd, Jess. 2017. Himself. New York, NY: Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1501145179. $26.00 USD.
“I See Dead People.” Not really, but the enigmatic Mahony, protagonist in Jess Kidd’s luminous debut, has been blessed (or cursed) with that ability, and the dead have been following him around his entire life. Abandoned as a baby at an orphanage, and left in the not-so-tender care of Irish nuns in the 1950’s Mahony has been floating through life using his wits and charm to get him what he needs. When a priest tracks him down and hands him a post-card that was left with him at the orphanage (but hidden by a bitter nun), it opens up a whole new adventure that lands him in Mulderrig, an Irish village with a lot of secrets, and people willing to do anything to keep them buried.
With a wonderful cast of characters, both living and dead, a chilling mystery to be solved, and an historic village worth exploring, this novel satisfies on many levels. As one reviewer said, it needs to be read (or listened to) with an Irish accent! Some of the vocabulary and sentence structure was challenging for this American reader, but the enchanting language and the antics of the living and dead kept me entertained and intrigued. The book is structured with chapters written from both the past and the present, which keeps the pace leisurely. Ultimately, it’s a book worth savoring, preferably in a comfy chair, late at night, and curled up with a cup of Irish Tea…..