Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Jury Remains Out: THE BUTCHER BOY

Acclaimed as literary novels, they are steeped in crime – but is it kosher to call them Irish crime fiction novels? YOU (via the comment box, natch) decide! This week: Patrick McCabe’s Booker Prize-nominated THE BUTCHER BOY.
“When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done on Mrs. Nugent.” Thus begins Patrick McCabe’s shattering novel THE BUTCHER BOY, a powerful and unrelenting journey into the heart of darkness. The bleak, eerie voice belongs to Francie Brady, the “pig boy,” the only child of an alcoholic father and a mother driven mad by despair. Growing up in a soul-stifling Irish town, Francie is bright, love-starved and unhinged, his speech filled with street talk, his heart filled with pain ... his actions perfectly monstrous. Held up for scorn by Mrs. Nugent, a paragon of middle-class values, and dropped by his best friend, Joe, in favour of her mamby-pamby son, Francie finally has a target for his rage – and a focus for his twisted, horrific plan. Dark, haunting, often screamingly funny, THE BUTCHER BOY chronicles the pig boy’s ominous loss of innocence and chilling descent into madness. No writer since James Joyce has had such marvellous control of rhythm and language ... and no novel since THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS has stunned us with such a macabre, dangerous mind. – Powell’s Books


Neil said...

I call em both. Literary & Crime. Fits all categories. Works for me.

Loved this book, and the movie too.

Declan Burke said...

Neil? We're trying to stir the shit here, man ... This kind of reasonable comment simply won't stand.

Terrific novel, though, and a good movie ...

Cheers, Dec

colman said...

I thought The Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry was the absolute bees what.....McCabe you say?hmm.....not Perry?

Sorry, wrong book, but it rocked, nonetheless

iremonger said...

It's in the 'Mystery' section of my local bookstore and seems out of place to me, although maybe someone who wouldn't otherwise have read it will stumble across it there.