The Glorious Heresies

One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight . . .

Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.

Some books require a thorough investigation, even if I don’t care for them. Maybe that is WHY they require it. The Glorious Heresies is well-written, the characters complex and developed. The plot is a multi-perspective point of view that encompasses both genders and different ages and walks of life.

But still, I could not get into it. I was just not the target market for this story. The summary calls it “biting, moving, and darkly funny…” but I never found the humor in it. I mostly saw it as raw and ugly–sort of an Irish Requiem for a Dream–and I loved that movie…but couldn’t read the book version, either. I recognize that it is probably my privileged perspective, but this just isn’t a story I enjoyed.

It isn’t the fault of the author though. She was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s prize for 2016, so clearly my opinion isn’t the one that matters here. Maybe I’ll pick it up again on another day and from a different angle and like it. It’s been known to happen!

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Goodreads and Tim Duggan Books provided a copy of the ARC via sweepstakes contest.

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