This is a book that engages from the start; the story beginning in the middle with the attempted suicide of Dirk Horn. We return to this point later, having travelled back to before his birth, tracing his close relationship with his mother and to beyond his father's early death.
Dirk is marked out as different by his name alone; the son of Mary, an Irishwoman, and her German husband Sepp. Like all the characters in this book, he is lost, isolated, despite outer appearances. Dirk tries to break out of this state by his friendship with Dave - drinking, dancing, meeting girls - yet when faced with the chance of happiness with his girlfriend Angela, he backs away.
The stories are skillfully told from different points of view, both in terms of characters and moving from 1st the 2nd and 2rd person narration. Tangents to the narrative are followed - the friend of a woman that has an affair with Sepp, taking the hotel room next door to theirs; Dirk's aunt Sheila heartbreakingly making cakes for the man that paints her front door once a year.
A difficult book to describe - a novel in stories; experimental and readable. I look forward to reading more from Shauna Gilligan.show more
by Maria C McCarthy