Merriment O’Grady works hard to keep her apothecary business going, concocting potions for her customers’ ills, and keeping her very colourful personal history to herself – as best she can.
When a down-at-heel writer, Solomon Fish, becomes her tenant, life for Merriment and for Janey Mack, the child she has rescued from the slums, becomes very complicated. Solomon has stumbled on a gruesome story: The Dolocher, half-man, half-pig, now stalking the alleyways of Dublin. Can it really be the evil spirit of a murderer who has cheated the hangman’s noose by taking his own life in his prison cell? Or is it something even more sinister?
If you enjoy a gothic thriller, you will love The Dolocher. Based on legend, and set in Georgian Dublin, this atmospheric tale is rich in suspense, grisly in tone and filled with engaging characters. Barry’s writing is lyrical, and filled with authenticity in her vivid descriptions of the period. And it is dark, so deliciously dark!
The Dolocher: Black and White Publishing. 2016
Well deserved accolades continue to zap towards Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, a novel that I struggled with at first, but persevered with, and gladly so. Deservedly, it has gone on to win The 2016 Goldsmith Prize and The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, 2016.
The book I’m featuring here though is McCormack’s Crowe’s Requiem, first published in 1999, a dark and gothic story of a young man with a devastating disease. A brave, imaginative tale that leans into the macabre and features this strange protagonist, the self-named Crowe, raised in bleakness by his grandfather in the remote place of Furnace. Crowe is a friendless loner until he ventures out from the isolation of the west of Ireland to the alien world of university, where he meets Maria…and the respite of the honeymoon period takes a cruel turn as Crowe seals his fatalistic denouement.
I do recall shedding a few tears when I read this book, perhaps fifteen years ago, and also remember being impressed by the uniqueness of both the writing and the narrative. Definitely worth a second look!