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The Stray Sod Country

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
It is 1958, and as Laika, the Sputnik dog, is launched into space, Golly Murray, the Cullymore barber's wife, finds herself oddly obsessing about the canine cosmonaut. Meanwhile, Fonsey "Teddy" O'Neill is returning, like the prodigal son, from overseas, with Brylcreem in his hair and a Cuban-heeled swagger to his step, having experienced his coming-of-age in Skegness, Engl ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 2010)
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Oct 03, 2010 Kaion rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern
I received and started reading The Stray Sod Country from Goodread’s First Reads in mid-November. But I had difficulty making it much past the first tenth of the novel, being largely unrewarded by McCabe’s portraits of 1950’s Irish village life—featuring a seemingly endless cast of characters with little to no, well, point seeming to arise. This spring break, I finally mustered enough sheer will to barrel through the book’s rambling fits and starts (or maybe it was just ecstatic momentum from co ...more
Jan 08, 2011 g026r rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I'm having a good deal of trouble giving voice to just what my issues with this one were. It wasn't badly written by any means, with no major stylistic issues (a few minor quirks that made me grind my teeth, like the lack of quotation marks and the italicization of many, but not all, proper nouns) -- a bit choppy, perhaps.

I think, in the end, my issue was that for a good 80 to 90 percent of the book I just didn't care about the characters. Which is a problem, as for probably the first two thirds
Feb 02, 2011 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-authors
Weird happenings in the hinterlands. Or are they so very weird after all? The Stray Sod Country is set in the relatively tranquil and boring year of 1958 in the border town of Cullymore (a thinly disguised Clones, Co. Monaghan, McCabe's hometown). Laika, the Russian dog, is orbiting the earth; the football world is reeling after the Munich air disaster claimed the lives of a good portion of the Manchester United team. And in Cullymore, resentment seethes under a thin veneer of tolerance and neig ...more
Sep 12, 2012 Shannon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Sigh... Well, that's over. That pretty much sums up my feelings on this book, which is not poorly written at all. In fact, it captures a time and a place perfectly. It's well researched and very authentic feeling.
Perhaps that's the problem... because this town is the most boring place ever, and not worth writing a book about. The most exciting event... the one that the book works up to... is completely skipped over and told in small flashbacks from the future. The problem with this... um, the o
Dec 09, 2010 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judith by: Library Thing Early Reviewers-September 2010

>1958....Cullymore, Ireland. SPUTNIK is in orbit and the village is in turmoil. A Parish Priest beset with Paranoia and Guilt...Housewives with thoughts of Murder...a Teddy Boy come home hoping to regain the Lass He Once Loved....the World in between the Serious 1950s...on the cusp of the Wild & Wooly 1960s....Satan pulls the strings.....

The position of "remote artificer" that Satan or God...or collective Conscience??? I haven't decided on any guilty party..But, Satan c
A. Mary
Feb 03, 2012 A. Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-novels
There's no one like Patrick McCabe. His specialty is the very dark yet cheerful psychopath. The narrator in this case is "the Fetch," a myth figure responsible for all of the peculiar and "out of character" things people do and say. In 1950s Cullymore, they say and do some extraordinary things. But none of them, and this is the beauty of it for the Fetch, really understands what's happening. Think "the devil made me do it." McCabe explores evil in the world by focussing on a small Irish communit ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Jolie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In this book, McCabe captures a wide variety of crazy, each represented by a different member of a small Irish town. As in real life, sometimes the madness is normal and well-concealed, other times it's overt, and the reader is forced to ponder which is more dangerous—the devil that's known, or that that lurks beneath the surface.

Although written with McCabe's typical unblinking stare and gritty insight, the book isn't the easiest read. Characters so deeply flawed are hard to love, and the mean
Stephanie Lindsay Hagen
"The Stray Sod Country", is an odd, oddly written story. It takes place primarily in 1958 Cullymore, Ireland. The townspeople are superstitious...and rightly so. Their most secret thoughts are being stirred and manipulated by an unseen, malevolent entity. And a very patient one. This malign force will at times take years to finish tormenting his puppets but then when he's done, he takes them away with a pleasant memory. How nice of him. He goes by many names but I see him as a very twisted reape ...more
Kate Kerrigan
Feb 24, 2012 Kate Kerrigan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion McCabe has no equal in capturing the unique nature of the true Irish vernacular. Even if nothing were to happen in his books (which it most certainly does) his style of writing is like listening to a favorite uncle, I could just sit and read it all day long. In fact, you don;t read his books - you HEAR them. Stray Sod is laugh out loud with the dark, mysterious undertones that have become his trademark. Gripping, compelling - read it on my Kindle and couldn't put it down and I am s ...more
Amanda Hamilton
Since I kept this book in the car to read when I had some time to kill, there were long stretches of time when I wasn't reading the book at all. Not that the plot jumps around *too* much and once I picked it back up, I didn't have very many 'Oh, who are these people again?' moments. Its very much a character-driven book set in Ireland.

Also, yay for tangential references to the Beatles via Billy Fury and skiffle.
Jan 09, 2011 Kimberley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i didn't actually finish this book. i got about 100 or so pages in and just couldn't get into it. i didn't enjoy the lack of quotation marks (the dashes weren't enough) or some of the darkness of the book.
Sep 29, 2010 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina by:
I won this book on Overall, I'd say that I liked the book. The writing was a little hard to follow at times, very choppy, but the story itself was interesting. I especially liked the evolving role of the narrator. I wasn't expecting that at all.
Jan 15, 2014 Meghan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this is a very good book. However, I just didn't get it. I didn't understand the story or the characters. The one positive aspect that I found was the narration style. I thought it was really intriguing but otherwise I found this book very hard going.
Ellen Herbert
Oct 15, 2010 Ellen Herbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read on a plane back from NY. will be reading more by this author. Not a comfy ride, but authentic. He writes about the vague madness that follows us all and how we accommodate it, ignore it, battle it and yes, succumb at times. 1958 England.

My dreams will be full tonight.
Ciaran Mcfadden
Nov 04, 2012 Ciaran Mcfadden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another tale of life in small town ireland ... McCabe's humour isn't just dark, it's black. Still his writing style makes for a good read. Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I agree with the rating.
Nov 04, 2015 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this a 3.5. Many layers to the story.
Sep 30, 2010 Benni marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, novels
Excited to read this. Thanks to the publisher and goodreads for the advanced reading copy. [Never received.]
Sep 29, 2014 Claude rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not sure quite what this was aiming at.
Dakshesh Karthikeyan
Dakshesh Karthikeyan rated it it was ok
Dec 29, 2014
Chaz Andrews
Chaz Andrews rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2014
Sean Walsh
Sean Walsh rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2015
Michelle Blankenship
Michelle Blankenship rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2014
A.w. Timmons
A.w. Timmons rated it it was ok
Sep 19, 2013
Connor Donevan
Connor Donevan rated it it was ok
Mar 05, 2013
Fi Ha
Fi Ha rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2014
Car rated it liked it
Apr 29, 2013
Bernie rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2013
Lloyd rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2015
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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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