Himself: A Novel - Jess Kidd
Thank goodness for friends who bug you to read something you'd normally never pick up. I finally got around to this & what a wonderful, magical story it is. It begins with the premise of an orphan searching for the mother he never knew & ends up delivering a tale full of humour & mystery.

Mahoney is a charming young man who was left at an orphanage as a baby. All he has is a faded photo of his mother. Naturally he has questions & returns to her home town of Mulderrig to find out what happened. There he hooks up with Mrs. Cauley, an elderly actress who revels in shaking up the residents of this sleepy little town.

At it's heart, it's a possible murder mystery. But there's so much more to enjoy here. Mulderrig is not your typical village. It's a place where you might see frogs perform synchronized dance moves, trees eavesdrop on conversations & books can attack when threatened (do NOT piss off an anthology of Russian literature). 

The prose is gorgeous & you'll find yourself grinning as you turn the pages. The cast ranges from sinister to downright wacky & the dialogue is frequently hilarious. And although many of the characters are already dead, that doesn't stop them from weighing in with their opinions. There's a strong theme of Irish folklore & mysticism that underlies the story & you start to believe anything can happen. 

It's a book that is difficult to stick in one category & reminded me of The MIlagro Bean Field War & The Shadow of the Wind. Magical other worldly forces interact with the living & the result is a story that is touching & funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it & will now become one of those annoying people who pushes this on other readers.