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3.14  ·  Rating details ·  858 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Once, Redmond Hatch was in heaven, married to the lovely Catherine and father to enchanting daughter Immy. But then he took them both to Winterwood. And it would never be the same again…

In Patrick McCabe's spellbinding new novel, nothing—and no one—are ever quite what they seem. When Hatch, devoted husband and father, revisits the secluded mountains where he grew up, he me
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published November 6th 2006)
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3.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  858 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.

"Here we both lie in the shade of the trees, my partner forever just him and me. How long will we lie here O Lord who can tell? Till the winter snow whitens the high hills of Hell."

What a man fears with obsession, he eventually becomes. Winterwood is a quiet novel, like the underside of a tomb is quiet. McCabe takes the already unsettling notions of lost childhood trauma, hidden animosity between relatives, and brings the raw, writhing form of these out into the light where it was not meant to b
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
What the heckin jeezuz did I just read???


This book is so deeply disturbing and confusing and dark and creepy and ... dear lord, what a mess.

The prose is disjointed and the narrator is completely unreliable, which means you have to put most of the story together yourself. I enjoyed that aspect of it, but it also made it incredibly confusing and leaves a bit of a mystery to it, because how much have you figured out correctly and how much is just your own imagination?

It's so incredibly messed
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
Really well-written and haunting, if you don't mind reading the ramblings of an Irish mountain man. Everything in this book starts out innocent and devolves into something horrifying. It was like a frightening but sad train wreck. I would have rated this higher if I found out exactly what happened, but the ending left a few questions unanswered.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 . 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
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Georgia Gross
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
"Winterwood" sounds like a place you might like to visit on a cold day to sit down by the fire and listen to old-timey tales of holy wells and fairy trees. Well, it's no place you want to go. And Ned "Auld Pappie" Strange is no James Stephens, unless Stephens was secretly a mean drunk with a dark heart who lured wee children to his forest lair for unspeakable purposes. But Stephens was no Pappie, and I hope Patrick McCabe isn't either... but he definitely knows something about the pathology of v ...more
Brendan Shea
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this overall just rather dull and very confusing. The synopsis stated the story to be 'spell-binding' which I certainly found it was not. I read through some of the reviews upon finishing and some commended the confusing nature of this story, but I didn't find it the kind of confusing that adds to the mystery of the story. I just had no idea what was going on, who was who, what happened when or anything. Part of this is probably due to listening to this on audiobook so I miss things occa ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
That was a very odd read, and one that I didn’t particularly enjoy.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2008 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
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
No sé si con la traducción "Bosque Frio" perdió parte de su horror. Ciertamente la pedofilia, el abuso sexual y el asesinato son terroríficos en general y a su modo, pero el uso/abuso frecuente de flashbacks, termino por desorientarme totalmente, aunque la sensación de estar leyendo la mente de un hombre perturbado siempre estuvo presente. Al final no se qué demonios sucedió, ¿Ned y Red fueron redimidos? ¿O estarían juntos hasta el fin de la eternidad cuando la nieve enfrie el infierno?, no creo ...more
Beth Carlson
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Slávek Rydval
Příběh o chlápkovi, kterému nejprve trochu, pak definitivně hráblo. Není to špatné, ale také nic extra.
Deeply disturbing.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it
McCabe's terrifyingly flippant approach to horror at its best.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Like Irish Appalachia . disturbing.
Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}
Winterwood: A Novel by Patrick McCabe, was indeed a tangled web of utter weirdness, of the Irish variety. As a standing fact, I enjoy very weird, disturbing, psychological thrillers and the Irish. So it stands to reason this book would be right up my alley of weirdness. And, for the most part it was. It really was.

"Once, Redmond Hatch was in heaven, married to the lovely Catherine and father to enchanting daughter Immy. But then he took them both to Winterwood. And it would never be the same ag
Nadzirah Bazlaa
How does a mundane narration of one protagonist manage to retain my interest? Besides, the narration went back and forth between the present and past, blurring the timeline. Perhaps it was a metaphor of his mental state. As I come up with a possible deduction, the final chapter throws me off. I have no definite conclusion, on what had happened? It’s unsettling as I don’t know which of the facts or reality presented is real for Redman. How easily Redman chose to bury or refocus his realities to s ...more
Christine Bode
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - Patrick McCabe is a masterful storyteller with a very disturbed mind who loves to write stories about men who have lost their minds. I have read several of his books, my favourite being Breakfast on Pluto, which is why I purchased this book sometime ago and have finally read it. I have decided at this time in my life, that I'm not very interested in reading about creepy, insane protagonists, probably because there are far too many of them in the world that we live in today. I underst ...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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