I was captivated by page one. Himself is a brilliant weave of magic, mystery, murder, mayhem, and darkly comic mirth. I loved every eccentric character and laughed out loud at the crackling dialogue. I want to read it again, right now, aloud to someone I care about. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Himself is a cross between a Tim Burton movie and an Agatha Christie story. It's dark, hilarious, and keeps you guessing. A ghostly murder mystery typically isn't on the top of my list, but Kidd is so original and dreamy, all the while keeping the emotional plot from derailing; this book is a universal gem. Recommended By Sam K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A charming ne'er-do-well returns to his haunted Irish hometown to uncover the truth about his mother in this "supernaturally skilled debut" (Vanity Fair) and turns the town--and his life--upside down.
Having been abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, Mahony assumed all his life that his mother wanted nothing to do with him. That is, until one night in 1976 while drinking a pint at a Dublin pub, he receives an anonymous note implying that she may have been forced to give him up. Determined to find out what really happened, Mahony embarks on a pilgrimage back to his hometown, the rural village of Mulderrig. Neither he nor Mulderrig can possibly prepare for what's in store...
From the moment he arrives, Mahony's presence completely changes the village. Women fall all over themselves. The real and the fantastic are blurred. Chatty ghosts rise from their graves with secrets to tell, and local preacher Father Quinn will do anything to get rid of the slippery young man who is threatening the moral purity of his parish.
"Debut novelist Kidd paints a darkly magical tale of a man who revisits his birthplace of Mulderrig, a small coastal town in Ireland, to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his mother's death 26 years earlier...Joining Mahony on his quest for answers are three women who add even more color to this richly drawn mystery about a town with more than its share of secrets...Told in a unique voice with complex characters, the paranormal mystery will keep readers guessing whodunit until the very end — all while falling in love with the quirky cast. A darkly comic tale that is skillfully and lyrically told." Kirkus
"[A] whimsical mystery… That’s the pleasure of Himself — the way the novel’s plot, with its delicate language and soft Irish lilt, wanders like lush green vines, never seeming to travel in straight lines. A villageful of characters emerge, all of them having a deft way with a line... The mystery here is how the living and the dead live side by side, and the joy is the music with which Kidd brings all of the characters to life." The Seattle Times
"Over in Dublin, Jess Kidd’s Himself is her supernaturally skillful debut. Irish eyes are glowing." Vanity Fair
"[A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well." New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Jess Kidd has a PhD in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s University. She was brought up as part of a large family from Mayo and now lives in London with her daughter. She has written the acclaimed Himself and Mr. Flood's Last Resort. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories.
Jess Kidd on PowellsBooks.Blog
He was standing behind me, apparently, the dead man. A tall fella with a seafaring background. Merchant Navy. In life, he enjoyed gardening and had a love of roast lamb. Baxter: his name. Or Baker. Or Biggs...