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HellFire: A Novel
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HellFire: A Novel

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
On a midsummer’s evening a young Dublin woman, Lucy Dolan, prepares for a showdown that will help make sense of a heart-breaking and brutal atrocity that happened thirteen years earlier, changing her life forever. As she waits for the arrival of the charismatic figure who is the key to the mystery, she recounts her life story – a rich and extraordinary tale spanning two ge ...more
Published May 31st 2007 by Penguin (first published January 2006)
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Apr 10, 2010 Gerard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2013 Derbhile Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 02, 2008 Erica rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeously devastating epic narrated by a violent junkie who's just been released from prison. It took me a few chapters to warm up to Lucy, but she quickly became one of the most unique and fully realized main characters that I've ever encountered. She addresses her story to a man from her past, and as she tries to make sense of a tragedy that fractured their tumultuous relationship she narrates not only her own childhood, but also her family history, and the birth of gangland Dublin.

Jun 24, 2015 Brandi rated it liked it
Shelves: irish
I enjoyed the book - obviously; it's set in Dublin and is primarily about constructing a life story out of unreliable memories, so my scholarly interests are piqued - but it was probably at least 30% longer than it should have been. Additionally, one of the blurbs on the back cover is fairly misleading - "The darker, grungier, flipside to Harry Potter, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" - which made me a bit impatient with the book at times. That's a shame, because it's quite good at what it does ...more
Nikki  Brooks
May 08, 2015 Nikki Brooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this about about 5 years ago and think of it often. Definitely time to go back. A one off book that is incredibly harrowing and will stay with you forever.
I gave it a 4 as the ending did go off tangent a bit, I felt.
Emer Martin
May 19, 2014 Emer Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2013 Fay Hallam rated it liked it
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
Nov 30, 2007 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 10, 2015 Bernard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books that completely sucks you into its world and characters to the point you start thinking of them as real people and an actual part of your life. Big and dark and violent and rough and pure and beautiful. Class.
Mar 21, 2009 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Esteé Hallatt
Jul 17, 2016 Esteé Hallatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel that demonstrates how everything you know, isn't necessarily everything there is to know.

If I had to offer criticism, I'd say it was a bit on the long side. Also, the dialect used, made it difficult to keep up at times.
Oct 14, 2009 Kristine rated it it was amazing
a very touching and lovely book.
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