Himself is a sort of Under Milk Wood meets The Third Policeman meets Agatha Christie. It’s a highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets and engaging characters (not all of them still alive). Lushly imagined, delightfully original and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page. A hugely enjoyable read. I can’t wait for more from Jess Kidd
– ML Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only his handsome face, a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.
His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one - living or dead - will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.
Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and blackly comic debut novel creates in crystal-clear, musical language an unforgettable world of strange kindnesses, bloody violence and buried secrets.
Jess 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.
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.
Jess is now completing her second novel, starting her third, and working on her first collection of short stories – many of which are either set in Ireland or have Irish protagonists. HIMSELF is Jess’s first novel, and will be published as a lead title by Canongate in October 2016.