SOLAR BONES by Mike McCormack
Kirkus Star

SOLAR BONES

BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this one-of-a-kind Irish novel, consisting of a single sentence à la Molly Bloom's interior monologue in Ulysses, a middle-aged man reflects on his life.

Alone in his kitchen on All Souls’ Day, Marcus Conway free-associates on everything from his pained family history to his physical surroundings in rural County Mayo to local politics to an unspeakable health crisis that hits home. And then there is the role he may have played as a civil engineer in the local building boom gone bust. For all his high artistic aims, McCormack is a wonderfully accessible, quick-witted writer—and, with references to Radiohead, Mad Max, and the post-millennial Battlestar Galactica, a smartly contemporary one. The book is alive with startling connections between the exterior and interior worlds (a dismantled wind turbine being hauled down the main drag "might well have been God himself") and Marcus' former and current selves. He is inspired to reappraise himself as a man and a father by the "inner harrowing" he experiences at his artist daughter's first solo exhibition, for which she duplicated, in the medium of her own blood, court reports from local newspapers. Had he failed her? McCormack breaks up his nonstop sentence with brief poetic spurts ("who made the world/God made the world/and who is God/God is our father in heaven/and so on and so on/to infinity") that give the book an irresistible driving rhythm. It's a book that demands a second reading and readings of the author's other books, including Getting it in the Head (1998) and Notes from a Coma (20013).

This transcendent novel should expand McCormack's following on this side of the Atlantic and further establish him as a heavyweight of contemporary Irish fiction along with the likes of Anne Enright and Kevin Barry.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-61695-853-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017




13 FICTION DEBUTS & BREAKTHROUGHS THAT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE :

FictionTHE POWER by Naomi Alderman
by Naomi Alderman
FictionIN THE DISTANCE by Hernan  Diaz
by Hernan Diaz
FictionUNCOMMON TYPE by Tom Hanks
by Tom Hanks
FictionTHE WORLD GOES ON by László Krasznahorkai
by László Krasznahorkai
Sci-FiPROVENANCE by Ann Leckie
by Ann Leckie

MORE BY MIKE MCCORMACK

FictionFORENSIC SONGS by Mike McCormack
by Mike McCormack
FictionCROWE'S REQUIEM by Mike McCormack
by Mike McCormack
FictionGETTING IT IN THE HEAD by Mike McCormack
by Mike McCormack

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionANTARCTICA by Claire Keegan
by Claire Keegan
FictionCITY OF BOHANE by Kevin Barry
by Kevin Barry
NonfictionULYSSES by James Joyce
by James Joyce