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THE FIELDS by Kevin Maher


by Kevin Maher

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-22356-0
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown

The narrator’s breathless, slang-rich voice distinguishes this "luck of the Irish" coming-of-age story.

Debut novelist Maher gives us Jim Finnegan, a fast-talking, high-spirited young man. Jim is the only son in a family of six. He shares a bedroom with his sister Fiona, takes lip from older twin sisters Sarah and Siobhan, an overworked mom and an irritable dad. Jim becomes acquainted with ne’er-do-well Declan Morrissey, aka Mozzo, who is going with the beautiful Saidhbh. He meets trouble in the form of the parish priest, O’Culigeen. Though just a wee lad of 14, and with early ’80s pop music providing the backbeats, Jim is dubbed Finno the madser when he begins a relationship with the older, devout Saidhbh, a great admirer of the dreadful O’Culigeen. The comedy is low and plentiful; the sins various and cringe-worthy. But the story, complicated and plotty, isn’t the draw: the language is. “Go on now, ye ride, get them off ye, ye sexy little who-ers!” Or “So soft, and so warm, like a dreamy five-fingered skin-plug into the flex of her soul.” Or “...I add that love is good and God is love and love is sex and sex is love and if love is good and God is good and sex is love than God is sex then sex is good is God.”

Unless you fall for Jim’s Irish-English speech, you might not finish this book.