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Winterwood: A Novel
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Winterwood: A Novel

3.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  677 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
"A fever dream of a novel…At heart, Winterwood is a Gothic ghost story…like Stephen King, McCabe knows how to invest pop culture with a sinister bathos. McCabe is also more intense than King (or just about anyone else)."—New York Times Book Review

The San Francisco Chronicle declared him "one of the most brilliant writers to ever come out of Ireland," and Neil Jordan c
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Bloomsbury USA (first published November 6th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,166)
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Megan
Feb 04, 2008 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Its a wee bit tiresome when the whole book is narrated like an Irish, yes a native Irish man gone bit batty, well not a bit batty, he's feelin' quite better actually, goin' to work and such, but aye there's Ole Pappy again, and he's a-sittin' with his daughter in the winterwood, his precious wee one, the pretty lass is asleep, always asleepin, or is she but gettin back to Ole Pappy, aye that was just a dream but there he is, asittin and OH JUST SPIT IT OUT ALREADY.

Maggie
May 20, 2008 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winner of the 2007 Irish Book Award of the Year, Winterwood is the chilling story of Redmond Hatch, a man who appears to have defied his troubled childhood by making a happy life for himself with his beautiful wife and the daughter he adores. The novel opens with Hatch, a journalist, interviewing Ned Strange, a local folk musician, for an article on the folklore and dying traditions of his native mountain village of Slievenageeha, Ireland. Despite the muddled perspective of an unreliable narrato ...more
Daniel
Mar 26, 2010 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More clean prose and streamlined stream-of-conscious from your man McCabe.

The result? A worthwhile read bordering on borderline genius.

But don't take my word for it. Here are three negative reviews of the novel provided by extremely common folk expressly stolen from Amazon.com . I've culled the following, completely verbatim, mind you, simply because they make me smile.


A Poorly Written Novel
I felt that this book was very poorly written. There were too many questions left unanswered. The book
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Georgia Gross
Sep 03, 2007 Georgia Gross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to say much without giving too much away. I LOVED it. It is creepy and twisty. It's somewhat a mystery, but mostly a psychological thriller (my favorite). A real page-turner. I have spent a good deal of time in my own head thinking I'm one thing and finding I'm another. This is that to the most violent level.
Mairi
Feb 26, 2008 Mairi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He's done it again. This book is haunting. Patrick McCabe leads the reader through another tale of madness. This one creeps up on you. No one is quite who or what they seem. The horror is veiled, thinly referenced but always present. The entire book felt like waiting for a sucker punch to the gut that never quite came. At the same time, by the end of the book I felt as if every character in the book had kicked me as hard as they could but, somehow, I didn't notice when each individual blow fell. ...more
Juan Hidalgo
La verdad es que en este libro no me he enterado muy bien de quién hace qué cosa, en qué momento y en qué lugar. El protagonista, en una narración en primera persona que avanza temporalmente desde los años ochenta hasta el dos mil cinco, mezcla sus vivencias presentes con flashbacks del pasado, además entremete historias de su padre, de su tío y de un amigo de ambos. Para acabar de complicarlo todo, el personaje principal va ocultando su identidad y cambiando su personalidad a medida que huye de ...more
Brendan Shea
May 28, 2009 Brendan Shea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark and unsettling. You know what's going to happen, but you keep reading, hoping that you're going to be wrong. You aren't. Great writing.
Holly
Jun 07, 2013 Holly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm what to say about this book...

The prose is great, but the story is almost incomprehensible at times. I found myself having to re-read paragraphs at several points just to figure out what the hell the author was saying. I think there was an interesting plot in there somewhere, but it was really hard to follow - was the protagonist going insane? Was he seeing ghosts? Was Ned his dad or uncle? Did he kill his ex-wife and daughter? Who knows! All I know is that there was a rambling book that o
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Jeff
Sep 11, 2010 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: once-was-enough
My low rating here doesn't mean that this was necessarily a bad read...it just wasn't for me. It deals heavily with child molestation, and being a father of three children, made it difficult to handle at times.

Another difficulty I had with the book was the maddening flashbacks. I realize that it was to put you inside the head of the narrator and his dive into insanity, But GEEZ! Having ADD it's hard enough to focus on getting through a book without the help of a narrator sliding into a flashback
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Michael
Jun 18, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suppose Winterwood has been marketed as a horror story (and it certainly is horrifying), but it's essentially a character study of a disturbed individual. There is very little violence directly referenced; mostly there are vague references peppered between the narrator's disarming optimism, that are all the more frightening for what they leave to the imagination. I made the mistake of reading quite a large chunk of this book before going to bed -- needless to say, I didn't sleep well that nigh ...more
sisterimapoet
Jan 14, 2010 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sisterimapoet by: John Self
Shelves: fiction-2010
The trick to enjoying this book is surely not to try to wrestle it into a linear sense. That is not McCabe's intention with his slippery narrator.

The structure reminded me a bit of a song. With new verses, but coming back again and again to a familiar chorus. I also thought about smoke, drifting on the breeze, you smell it and you know that something is burning, but you don't know what, or how much damage has occured.

Redmond Hatch is a narrator I will never forget. I was gripped by every word he
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Ben Thurley
If there was less tedium in Winterwood it might be easier to get over the unpleasantness. Or possibly it's the other way round, I'm not sure.

McCabe (yes, his entry is very close in the dictionary to 'macabre') pitches another tale of madness along the lines of his, to my mind, much better novel The Butcher Boy. It has the same fractured and unreliable narration, blurring of reality and fantasy/delusion, violence and victimisation, as the earlier novel but with none of those novel's (admittedly b
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Bridgette
Dec 17, 2010 Bridgette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where was the climax??? I've never read a book that tries so hard to build up the shock factor that it actually misses it completely. I kept waiting for the point where someone would acknowledge what ACTUALLY happened and it NEVER came. This book just beat around the pediphilia bush and was utterly dull and pointless. It is my understanding that the author has won, or was nominated, for the Man Booker prize but I'm hoping it was not for Winterwood.
Beth Carlson
Feb 20, 2008 Beth Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true fans of the VERY unreliable narrator.
It is creepy in so many ways. Yes, it's a page turner, yes the unreliable Red Hatch keeps readers on their toes as we have to piece together the truth from the fiction he creates in his own head. Moreover though, at it's core, this book focuses on the terrible effect abuse has both on society as a whole and the individuals subjected to it. We shake our heads in disgust but have no idea what to do about it's cyclical effect on generations.
Anushka
Sep 28, 2012 Anushka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university-text
Extremely disturbing and psychologically mind f***ing book. I absolutely hated it, though I know some people did like it. Unlike Humbert Humbert in Lolita, Redmond Hatch/ Ned Strange - the men of the mountain, are just completely repulsive - I dont buy into the whole 'they are both victim and perpetrator' - this book makes me want to have a shower and wash it off my skin and run. Far and fast.
Ronan O'Driscoll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa
Nov 29, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While the movement back and forth in time and the ambiguity of who is really who build suspense, it is also unsatisfying because there is a little too much confusion and that takes away from the tension because it's harder to become involved with the characters.
Sadie
Jul 22, 2008 Sadie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sadie by: My husband, Andy
I am sad to say that bought this book for my husband for Valentine's Day. Let's just say it doesn't inspire romance. This is a gritty and disturbing novel. If you like the idea of an unreliable narrator you will like this book. Creative and intriguing.
Cheryl
Oct 28, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: audios-read
Very weird. I listened to the audiobook and I LOVED that Patrick McCabe has an Irish accent and the story takes place in Ireland.
Kevin Mcgowan
Dec 04, 2012 Kevin Mcgowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McCabe's terrifyingly flippant approach to horror at its best.
Erin.Evelyn
Like Irish Appalachia . disturbing.
J D Murray
Jan 08, 2015 J D Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me over for a while.

A very disturbing story from a very disturbed and unreliable narrator/s. Trying to peer between the lines and work out what was really going on is part of the point, but I read it maybe two and a half times, and I still wasn't sure quite what the relationship between Red and Ned was or how much of the life he was telling us about could actually have happened. And I wasn't entirely sure that the author was entirely sure either.

Compelling, but perhaps a little too mud
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Laurie
Deeply disturbing.
Jenna
Winterwood was marketed as a kind of modern horror fairy tale, pulling references from Irish folklore into 1980s Dublin. The narrator, Redmond Hatch, returns to his native mountain valley of Slievenageeha, and begins a friendship of sorts with local character Ned ‘Auld Pappy’ Strange. From there, Redmond’s life (and the trajectory of the novel) takes a dark turn.

This was a rough book. Super dark, nasty subject matter intensifying as the novel progresses, permeated all the way through with a hea
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N.
Apr 30, 2016 N. added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you need a moody book to alarm someone, then I will recommend this book.
Recommended to N. by: Found in library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Dutton
Jan 31, 2013 Ben Dutton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick McCabe came to my attention in the 1990s with his novel The Butcher Boy. Like that novel, Winterwood is the story of a killer. Like that novel, it is blackly comic.

Redmond Hatch returns to rural Ireland where he meets Pappie Strange, a musician with a string of stories, some of which just might be true. Pappie Strange has a secret, though, and people warn Redmond away from him. Years later, now married to Catherine and with a young daughter, Immy, Redmond learns that Pappie has raped an
...more
Xian Xian
Ok, I hate to say it, but this was the first Patrick McCabe novel I have read, and I have mixed feelings about it. At first, I couldn't put it down, it was frightening and the writing style was unique (well for me because I haven't read any of his works until now) but then it started to get a little stale. It was a dark and creepy psychological thriller, but it was also very confusing. The main character, Redmond Hatch seems to be constantly changing, I felt as if he was constantly changing his ...more
Blair
Feb 09, 2011 Blair rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This would be the part where I describe the books' plot, characters and my overall reaction. I am literally left speechless and numb by this book. Every thing is indirect, skipping and jumbled. This is what I was able to glean from "Winterwood".

There is a man, Redmond Hatch, or, Dominic Tiernan? He travels to an Irish hillside town where he meets Ned Strange. Ned already knows Redmond. You see, Redmond apparently had been born in this town and then re-located to an orphanage after his mother's

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Ian
Oct 24, 2012 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time Raymond Hatch was living the dream: a blissful family life with his beautiful wife Catherine and their daughter Imogen. He was a bit older than Catherine, but no matter. Otherwise they were the picture of modern Irish middle-class prosperity. Until Raymond, a journalist, decided to return to his roots, to his mountain home of Slievenageeha, to conduct research into the region's folklore. Here he meets Ned Strange, the repository of the mountain's traditional songs and folktales ...more
Mark
Sep 15, 2015 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't work for me. It felt hollow. The use of "Irish-isms" was a nice touch at first but felt overused later and became less authentic. There was lots of name dropping of places and times that I knew, but they didn't feel important to story... of which seemed to be the main character obsessing over a pedophile. There were flashbacks and half-scenes of another more interesting story underneath but they were glossed over to hear about "Auld Pappie". The book just didn't feel like it was ...more
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Patrick McCabe came to prominence with the publication of his third adult novel, The Butcher Boy, in 1992; the book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in Britain and won the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Prize for fiction. McCabe's strength as an author lies in his ability to probe behind the veneer of respectability and conformity to reveal the brutality and the cloying and corrupting stagnation of Ir ...more
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