“For Mulderrig is a place like no other. Here the colours are a little bit brighter and the sky is a little bit wider. Here the trees are as old as the mountains and a clear river runs into the sea”
Blending strange kindnesses, casual violence and buried secrets: an unforgettable debut from a dark new voice in Irish fiction
A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice
Shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2016
Shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2017
Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2017
When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the lies of his past.
No one - living or dead - will tell Mahony what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite his certainty that more than one of the villagers knows the sinister truth.
Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.
“Kidd’s brilliantly bold debut mixes up murder and mayhem with the eerily supernatural. It’s a tender, violent and funny story told in prose that is lyrical, lush and hugely imaginative. Utterly unputdownable”
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“Diabolical deeds, ferociously kept secrets, black humour and magical realism abound in Jess Kidd’s richly textured, thronging debut … Kidd has imagination to die for and a real command of plot and character”
“A genuinely intriguing mystery, with moments of real tenderness … otherworldly and wonderfully original”
“Very funny, very profound, very moving … One of the finest books of the year”
bbc Radio 2 Book Club
“[Kidd] has imagination to spare. The forest feels alive at times. There is magic in the air … As a noirish thriller with a supernatural edge, Himself is atmospheric and intriguing. As a portrait of village hypocrisy and the dark things that lurk beneath the surface, it’s also compelling”
Jess Kidd completed her first degree in Literature with The Open University, and has since taught creative writing and gained a PhD in Creative Writing Studies. She has also worked as a support worker specialising in acquired brain injury. In 2016, Jess won the Costa Short Story Award for Dirty Little Fishes and her debut novel Himself was selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. In 2017, Himself was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.
Jess was brought up in London as part of a large family from Mayo, and plans to settle somewhere along the west coast of Ireland in the next few years. Until then, she lives in London with her daughter.