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Himself

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,768 Ratings  ·  904 Reviews
"[A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well." —New York Times Book Review

“[A] supernaturally skillful debut.” —Vanity Fair

“A delicious, gratifying and ageless story.” —New York Journal of Books

Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Atria Books
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Karen I wouldn't give it to a 13yo. If a 13yo chose it, and got past the first page, I wouldn't stop them from reading it, but I would want to make sure…moreI wouldn't give it to a 13yo. If a 13yo chose it, and got past the first page, I wouldn't stop them from reading it, but I would want to make sure that kid had good lines of communication with a trusted adult, me or someone else.(less)
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Paromjit
This is a beguiling, dark atmospheric and wondrous literary read interwoven with the supernatural and the fantastical. It is a stunning debut from Jess Kidd that draws the reader into what is a spellbinding read. A dark fairytale brimming with folklore, humour and flawless comic touches. For me, it called to mind the talented Kevin Barry and other Irish writers, past and present. The past gives us Orla's story and the present in the 1970s focuses on Mahony, her son. It begins with the murder of ...more
Amalia Gavea
''The dead are like cats, Mahony. You of all people should know that. They don't always come when they're called.''

I added Jess Kidd's book when I first saw its deliciously creepy front cover and the striking title. It had all the right ingredients: Ireland during the 70s, magical realism, dry humour, gothic hints. When the lovely Goodreads Ireland group members chose it for our quarterly read, it was a perfect opportunity for me to start reading. Plus, it came highly recommended by my good fr
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Kevin Ansbro
He
sees
dead people.


Yowza! Yowza! Yowza!
If ever a book could grab my attention right from the first page, it was this one!
For a long time I have yearned for an author like Jess Kidd to appear: the ghosts of Dylan Thomas, Gabriel García Márquez and James Joyce must surely have come to roost in her beautiful, mischievous mind.
This magical, vengeful story reconnected me with my Irishness and might possibly have brought my dear mother, Kathleen, scurrying to read it over my shoulder (she'd have love
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Larry H
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

"Mulderrig is a place like no other. Here the colors are a little bit brighter and the sky is a little bit wider. Here the trees are as old as the mountains and a clear river runs into the sea. People are born to live and stay and die here. They don't want to go. Why would they when all the roads that lead to Mulderrig are downhill so that leaving is uphill all the way?"

Mulderrig is a small Irish village, a Brigadoon of sorts. One spring day in 1976, Mahony arrives in Mul
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Diane S ☔
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Magical and delightful, was not at all ready to leave this small Irish town nor these wonderful characters. Mahoney, raised in an orphanage, come to Murdering to uncover the truth about the young mother he never knew. He creates quite a stir with his Byronic good looks, sets hearts a quivering, but not all because many in this place are holding secrets and one is a murderer. He meets some amazing characters, willing to help him with his quest: the old Mrs., Cauley, who was quite a stage sens ...more
Susanne Strong
5 Stars.

Bewitching, Mysterious and Whimsical.

“Himself” by Jess is a spellbinding fairytale that intertwines the magical with the supernatural. Its dark whimsy draws you in with its brilliance.

Mahoney returns to Mulderrig, on Ireland’s coast, as it’s the place of his birth. He was raised in an orphanage in Dublin and never knew his mother, having always thought he was abandoned. As a young adult, he is given a photograph of his mother and him and discovers that he wasn’t abandoned after all and
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Cheri
”Mulderrig is a place like no other. Here the colors are a little bit brighter and the sky is a little bit wider. Here the trees are as old as the mountains and a clear river runs into the sea. People are born to live and stay and die here. They don’t want to go. Why would they when all the roads that lead to Mulderrig are downhill so that leaving is uphill all the way?”

Mahoney returns to Mulderrig, although he has no memory of being there, it was in Mulderrig he was born. Raised in a Dublin orp
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Karen
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 for this delightful, magical debut!!! I just loved these characters, especially Mahony, who had been raised in an orphanage, comes to the Irish village Muldering from Dublin to find out about his mother's disappearance or death shortly after he was born.
PorshaJo
One day, a young Irish man comes sauntering into the town of Mulderrig, and he's on a mission. You see, Mahony, was born in this town but was raised in an orphanage. While living in Dublin, he recently learned that his mother disappeared in this town. The town folk think he's a gobshite. Well, just the men. The women think he's dreamy, handsome with dark eyes and long hair, in need of a bath. Let's just say when he arrives, all h*ll breaks loose.

Most of the town do not want him here. Especially
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Phrynne
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books, favorites
This book is going straight onto my shelf of favourite reads. I think I will put it next to Lincoln in the Bardo because the ghosts inside their pages have so much in common, and because both books just struck a chord in me and made for such great reading.

In Himself we meet Mahoney, 26 years old, charismatic, very good looking and able to charm even ghosts with just a wink. What he does to the female population of Mulderrig, a small town in County Mayo Ireland, is amazing:) I am pretty sure he h
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Jaline
I almost didn’t make it past the first sentence of this book, but I am glad I did. The prologue is, fortunately, mercifully short – and with a bit of magical realism at the end, it poses the questions: “Where did he go? What happened to him and his family?” The rest of the book sets out to answer those questions.

Mahoney is on a quest, and his destination is the village of Mulderrig in Ireland. He is also a sensitive, so he sees things most other folks don’t see, where “sometimes the details come
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Zoeytron
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zoeytron by: Larry H
Shelves: public-library
In a forest dark and deep, the murmuring trees keep their own counsel.  They know everything, as do the bees.  Mulderrig, Ireland.  Where sleep conjures dreams of screaming eels and snapping dentures.  Beware of spiteful wells, flying spiders, and meddlesome winds.  Note the creeping shadow who has a taste for religious paraphernalia.  You are about to enter a world of tricky knickers and wigs that tilt askew at alarming angles.  'Be still.  The dead are drawing in.'  The dead, wanting to be see ...more
JanB
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars rounded up

A very quirky novel, Jess Kidd has a distinctive style that is difficult to describe. The tone and language were everything in this novel. The humor lightened up what is a serious murder mystery and brought in much needed levity. The language and descriptions oozes charm.

And the characters were delightful! I absolutely loved the scene where books saved a character’s life - it may just be my favorite scene in the entire book, and you will just have to read it to find out how
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Brenda - Traveling Sister
Norma and I were lost in the magical lush coulee with two of our Traveling Sisters reading Himself.  At times we were hidden in the bushes looking over our shoulders for the supernatural who were wanting to find us and tell us their secrets.

Himself starts off dark and violent and left us wanting to stay hidden in those magical bushes to hide from the dark but soon humor is introduced into the story to lighten the darkness of this story. Jess Kidd does a good job balancing the dark with some ligh
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Rosh
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be on a kick for reading books which take place in Ireland lately. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s amusing that after reading The Heart's invisible furies, my mind seemed much more well-put-together for this particular book. The two don’t share much else in common, but honestly, the charm of Irish writing is more than enough to keep me paying attention.

And Kidd definitely knows how to tell a story.

I thought this novel had all the things I like in a book such as Irish f
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Elyse Walters
I appreciate the authors imagination: a child ghost who lost her yo-yo in the forest - the eeriness created- the whimsical dead ensemble- etc. etc.
but too many things going on for me to love-LOVE- it.
The overall message ‘did’ move me: a man digging into himself...needing to see deeper into his own soul.
or - why else would a dead baby come back to life?



Victoria
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the dead are always close by in a life like Mahoney’s. The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged, the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill. For the dead have secondhand stories to share with you, if you’d only let them get a foot in the door.

Darkly humorous, deviously textured and filled with a cast of quirky characters I won’t soon forget, this novel has an almost mythical quality and it is a helluva of a good
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Robin
Things are all mysterious and magical in small town Ireland

This book has flashes of The Sixth Sense with main character Mahoney (pronounced MAH-hinny by the narrator of my audiobook) who sees the dead, everywhere he goes.

Unfortunately for him, the only ghost he really wants to see (his mother's), eludes him. Ghosts in this book are like cats - they don't come when they're called. They aren't particularly helpful. They don't uncover crucial clues or whisper murderers’ names, though their pre
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Book of Secrets
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HIMSELF is one of the most unusual mysteries I've read; the experience was like getting pulled into a vivid 20th century Irish folk tale. Set in the small village of Mulderrig, this wild story alternates between the 1970s and 1940s/50s. Mahony grew up in a Dublin orphanage, with very few clues about his beginning. When he finally gets a lead, 26-year old Mahony travels back to Mulderrig determined to find out what became of this mother, stirring up all kind of chaos in the process. The book is f ...more
Kimber Silver
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
Himself started off with a bang and kept me engaged until the very end.
Abandoned in a Dublin orphanage as a baby, Mahony, now aged twenty-six, receives a letter left for him long ago that hints he might not have been abandoned after all.
Returning to the remote coastal town of Mulderrig, in search of the raw truth about his mother, a profoundly complicated past rises and the local ghosts come out to greet him, giving the story an otherworldly spin.
Jess Kidd’s rollicking debut is chock-full of
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Dianne
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
This is a pretty good debut mystery novel set in Ireland in the 50's and 70's. Mahony, a young man who grew up in a Dublin ophanage, returns to a small village in Ireland to find out what happened to his mother. The tale is very atmospheric with delightful writing, memorable and quirky characters and a bit of the supernatural. Mahony, as it turns out, can see and commune (in some fashion) with dead people.

"Himself" lost some points with me in the second half - I started to lose track of all of
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Marialyce
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
4 the stuff of dreams that we are made of stars
You can find my reviews here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

There are times when I would love to live in the mind of an author. This would be one of them.

Take me away to the small Irish village of Mulderrig where much is afoot, some of it dark but some of it fun and whimsical. This village, where a murder took place, where a son searches for his mother, where people are for you or agin you will take you on a sojourn to a place where mag
...more
Beata
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was a grand reading... Himself is a most magical novel with a perfect mystery behind it. If this is a debut, it is an astounding one and the bar set by the readers for Jess Kid's next books is rather high. I was engrossed by the writing style and the ambience of an Irish town and the woods.
Paul Lockman
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-favourites
Great way to start 2018 with a 5 star read. Such a delightful, charming and magical book, a brilliant debut, hard to believe this is Jess Kidd’s first book. Set mainly in the mid-1970s, the main character Mahoney returns to Mulderrig, a small town on the west coast of Ireland, determined to find out what happened to his teenage mother Orla who abandoned him as a baby. The characters, both living and dead, are brought to ‘life’ so vividly and skilfully. I loved old Merle Cauley (Mrs Cauley), the ...more
Tania
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a truth universally acknowledges that when the dead are trying to remember something, the living are trying harder to forget it.

I can't believe this wonderful literary thriller was a debut novel. I loved the lyrical writing, the quirky characters (dead and alive) and the magical realism sprinkled liberally throughout. Be warned that although this is part black comedy, it is also filled with some of the most violent scenes I've ever read. If you enjoy Irish storytelling filled with supernat
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Maria Hill AKA MH Books
This is my favourite book of 2017 so far. I will write a review soon when I work out what I want to say.
Dana
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful unfurling of a magical mystery. 🌱☘🌿 ...more
Faith
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The pipes sing about a land lost, about forgotten honor and wasted bravery. They sing of sedge-edged water and white skies, of the mountains and the sea, of those who are gone and those who never even were." This book was a complete delight. It's a literary mystery, small town social satire and dark comedy with beautiful language (read with a variety of captivating voices by Aiden Kelly, the narrator of the audiobook).

The prologue is set in Mulderrig, Ireland in 1950 and describes the murder of
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Sonja Arlow
Oh my, what a delicious reading experience this was.

A debut novel? Are you kidding me? The writing was superb. Lyrical, dark, quirky and funny.

The characters are all a bit tongue in cheek and had that not been the case the tone of the book would have been a lot more menacing.

The drama plays off in an Irish village in the 1970’s where a stranger comes to town. He is charming, and easy on the eye but very soon his reason for being there makes the villagers turn on him, and they are not playing ar
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Bianca
This was a mystery novel with a difference, as it was haunted by ghosts and Irish folklore.

Handsome, young Mahoney arrives in Mulderrig to find out what had happened to his mother twenty-six years prior. You see, he grew up in an orphanage not knowing who his parents were.

It's 1976, full-blown flower power era. Except that it didn't make it to Mulderrig whose inhabitants are still very conservative, wary of strangers, set in their ways, steeped in religion and superstitions.

Mahoney has a special
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MCLS Reading Chal...: book that makes you believe in magic 1 8 Apr 19, 2018 01:04PM  
Goodreads Ireland: Spoiler Thread: Himself 67 95 Feb 09, 2018 02:50PM  
Goodreads Ireland: Questions for the Author: Himself 14 76 Jun 18, 2017 01:13AM  
Goodreads Ireland: Apr-June: Himself 35 57 Jun 13, 2017 02:02AM  
Play Book Tag: Himself by Jess Kidd - 4.5 stars 6 14 Apr 04, 2017 07:52PM  
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Jess completed her first degree in Literature with The Open University, and has since taught creative writing and gained a PhD in Creative Writing Studies. She has also worked as a support worker specialising in acquired brain injury.

Jess was brought up in London as part of a large family from Mayo, and plans to settle somewhere along the west coast of Ireland in the next few years. Until then, sh
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“Words are capable of flying. They dart through windows, over fences, between bar stools and across courtyards. They travel rapidly from mouth to ear, from ear to mouth. And as they go, they pick up speed and weight and substance and gravity. Until they land with a scud, take seed and grow as fast as the unruliest of beanstalks.” 6 likes
“An interview with Quinn is like fighting a yellow snake in a sandpit.’ Desmond” 3 likes
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