Monday, 6 April 2009

John The Revelator by Peter Murphy

DATE PUBLISHED: 2009 DATE READ: March 2009 NOTES: This is a “coming of age” novel set in small town Ireland. John (who has a worm fetish!) lives with his eccentric mother Lily who quotes from the bible and says John is named after the writer of Revelations. He becomes enamoured with Jamey Corboy – a middleclass but rebellious older boy who is sent to a young offenders’ institute following an escapade with John. But John continues to hear from him via his letters, his stories and newspaper reports. The narrative moves quickly and the 250 pages are soon read. Much of the language is quirky and vivid and the characters jump off the page. Mrs Nagle, the gothic greedy neighbour, was brilliant. Unfortunately most of the humour was the sort liked by teenage boys and depended very much on bodily functions. Each chapter is preceded by a reflective prologue – which tend to be either irrelevant or pretentious. The suffocating atmosphere of small town Ireland was well evoked, as was the obvious affection between mother and son. An interesting debut novel but not as good as the rave reviews. Colm Tóibín said: “…it’s an absolutely wonderful book.” No, it’s not - it's good but not great.

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