Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  9 reviews
One summer's morning in 2003 a young woman, Lucy, recently out of jail, sets out on a journey around Dublin, trying to make sense of her troubled life. She tells of the rise and fall, over three generations, of her family, whose businesses were clairvoyance and street-trading.
Paperback, 661 pages
Published January 2006 by Penguin Ireland
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 84)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Feb 02, 2008 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who can read a whole book written in the spoken language of North Side Dublin
I learned that pretty much entire Dublin was a ghetto until recently. I learned what the Hellfire Club -legend is. I learned a lot of swear words in "dublinese". I now know what a "Jo maxi" is.

The book tells the story of Lucy from childhood to adulthood; a poor family, in a poor area of the city, with not many prospects. It was completely different from what I expected and what the "dark side of Harry Potter"-quote on the cover indicates, but a real page turner. Rarely have I had such mixed feel...more
I loved this book. I loved the characterisations, and the way the story unfolded as the book progressed. I couldn't wait to get back to it when I wasn't reading it.
I thought the spelling to affect the Dublin accent might soon grow to irritate, but instead it faded into the background and wasn't noticeable after a while.
Dark, menacing, brooding - but always captivating.
Derbhile Graham
This is a book that crackles. It is one of the finest books to come out of Ireland in the last 10 years. It brought me right into a world that's right under my nose - the world of the gangland. The voice of the character is so strong. You really feel you know what it's like to be one of those Merchant's Quay junkies. It takes real skill to get readers to sympathise with a character you'd otherwise run across the street to avoid.

The plot is a little hard to follow at times and it's written in Du...more
Emer Martin
Great main character. Raw and gripping narrative. A glimpse into the hard core world of Dublin Inner City Heroin scourge. Mia's writing flows and has an authenticity that runs deep.
Fay Hallam
Don't attempt this book unless you have got a lot of time on your hands (it is long and rambling) or unless you have a strong stomach as it is unrelentingly grim with some sickening violence and graphic descriptions of drugs and their effects, as well as social deprivation.
It is the story of a junkie, set in Dublin in the '80s and her attempts at finding some meaning to her life. I did get a lot out of it despite it being way too long and it does have some moments of poetic beauty but it was als...more
My actual rating is 3.5 stars. Very different from what I expected - basically tells the life story of a heroin addict spanning several decades in the slums of Dublin. Lucy (the addict) narrates, so the writing is more conversational and terse. The dialect takes a bit getting used to, but I commend Gallagher's boldness for writing Lucy's character so in depth and detailing a story with very little redemption - not for the weak of heart.
This was a last grab at the library and I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to!

I did not guess the ending at all and the story kept me interested and turning pages throughout. Usually with books so long, there are parts which get boring and a bit 'draggy' but that didn't happen with this book. Very pleased I read it!
Maria Quinn
2 stars is probably a bit harsh but I found the book very long and it was rough in places. Try it out for yourself but read a least a few chapters before you decide - let it grow on you. Not one of my favourite books but I'm glad I gave it a chance and finished it.
a very touching and lovely book.
Susan added it
Jun 26, 2014
Dannon marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2014
Jaye marked it as to-read
Mar 08, 2014
Jihan marked it as to-read
Feb 20, 2014
Fatima Acafrao
Fatima Acafrao marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2014
Angela marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2014
Rebecca marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2013
Christine marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2013
Helen marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2013
Kate added it
Aug 11, 2013
Kate marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2013
Melon109 marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2013
Mia marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2013
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Spolia Issue 2: Black Magic HellFire: A Novel

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »