The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney REVIEW


TITLE & AUTHOR: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
PUBLISHER: John Murray
EDITION: Paperback
PUBLISHED: 1 January 2016
PAGES: 371
Source: Library





‘He was definitely dead, whoever he was. He wore a once-black jumper and a pair of shiny tracksuit bottoms. The back of his head was cracked and his hair matted, but it had been foxy before that. A tall man, a skinny rake, another string of piss, now departed. She hadn’t gotten a look at his face before she flaked him with the Holy Stone and she couldn’t bring herself to turn him over.’

One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight…

Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.


He left the boy outside its own front door. Farewell to it, and good luck to it. He wasn’t going to feed it anymore; from here on it would be squared shoulders and jaws, and strong arms and best feet forward. He left the boy a pile of mangled, skinny limbs and stepped through the door a new-born man, stinging a little in the sights of the sprite guiding his metamorphosis. Karine D’Arcy was her name. She was fifteen and a bit and had been in his class for the past three years. Outside of school she consistently outclassed him, and yet here she was, standing in his hall on a Monday lunchtime. And so the boy had to go, what was left of him, what hadn’t been flayed away by her hands and her kisses.


The Glorious Heresies is a very good book but doesn’t quite live up to the hype surrounding it. I really enjoyed the book. The characters are totally mad and larger than life. Their lives and the crazy stuff they stumble into are larger than life. The Glorious Heresies shocked me, made me laugh and cringe and roll about on the floor at times. The book is crass and beautiful at the same time, not an easy thing to pull off. This book would make a great Tarantino movie. That’s a compliment. I love his movies. I can easily imagine him directing a movie version of The Glorious Heresies. So yes, I enjoyed the book. Given all the hype surrounding it, I expected to love it but it just wasn’t as special as I expected it to be. It was a good read and a lot of fun but I’ve read better books and books that are a lot worse.




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