There is a lot of interest and talk around Irish literature at the moment, enhanced by last years Booker prize winner Milkman by Anna Burns ( a book that found little merit with me) As an expat from the green and damp bogs of Northern Ireland I am always keen to sample the delights, insights and opinions that a new book can reveal by a previously unknown author: Jenny McCartney. I need not have been concerned The Ghost Factory is a delight to read.
The novel is set post the troubles of the 1970's but Belfast is a city still scarred by its unenviable past, still lacking real investment, an economy mortally wounded. When our narrator Jacky witnesses an act of savagery upon his friend Mitch, and later is himself the recipient of a brutal beating, he is forced to flee and seek sanctuary in London. However the love of his birthland and a burning need for revenge acts as an open wound encouraging him to return to right the ways of his past.
What I loved about the author's style was her ability to bring to life the mindset of the battle weary Irish populace, the clipped hard "Ulster" speak and the dark brooding Irish humour. Highly Recommended
Got home earlier tonight after a long day and three hours' worth of sleep the night before, following on the heels of three equally long days (and similarly short nights); finally caught up with three days' worth of BookLikes posts and am now dog-tired (again).
So I thought before logging off I'd just drop something here for the resident Beatles fans that I picked up the other day ... (the Brits may have seen it, but if not, I hope the above link is going to work even if you're not on LinkedIn -- I originally intended to post the video clip itself, but that doesn't seem to be working, either). Anyway, enjoy!
My head has fallen off. Just seen Paul McCartney play a gig to 50 people in the Philharmonic pub in Liverpool. Absolutely made my life. Thank you for the music Paul . The Beatles X X X pic.twitter.com/tYuDCdArNJ— mike (@Mike__dps) June 9, 2018
This book is loosely based on a real-life family who was victimized by the fear and hatred created during the McCarthy era. Cal Kuseck and his wife Betsy move their two children, Jo and Lance, to a cattle farm in South Dakota. The book chronicles their struggle to adapt to their new life. Cal becomes interested in politics and serves three terms in the State Assembly. When he decides to run for the Senate, the FBI looks more closely into his and his family’s past affiliations and learn of Betsy’s short membership in the Communist party when she was a very young woman. Cal’s political enemies start a smear campaign and his friends and neighbors turn against him. This all leads to a libel lawsuit and ultimately, many years later, to murder.
I had expected this to be a fascinating, empathetic book but for some reason, I never could really connect with the characters. I thought this book would really speak to my heart, especially during this difficult time in our country when people are so divided and fear is prevalent. I read this book during the last days of the presidential election. But I really didn’t get caught up in the victimization of this family and didn’t find much suspense in the murder either. It felt a bit flat and disjointed to me. But it’s certainly a timely book and shows just how fear and hate can grow in a country until it produces unreasonable mass hysteria.
This book was given to me by the publisher through First to Read in return for an honest review.