Monday, 9 July 2012


MalarkyMalarky by Anakana Schofield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Despair and Dignity: Anakana Schofield’s inaugural novel, Malarky

Darkly humourous, Malarky is about the struggle to understand this thing called life. Set in rural County Mayo, Ireland, the story concerns Our Woman, Philomena as she reels from a blender of shocks: her son’s homosexuality, being told that her husband’s having an affair by his God-fearing mistress, and the death of the two most important men in her life.

The book is about grief, longing, the closeting of sexuality—any sexuality—and how imagination can overcome the limits that life puts on it. Surprisingly, the book is quite funny. It’s all about the very Irish voice: “The eejit was out cold.” I can absolutely hear my mother-in-law say that. Even though the narration moves from first person to third person, behaving much like close-ups and wide shots in film, the shifts are seamless and almost unnoticeable.

I love the complex structure of the book. Time rolls back and forth and revelations are reserved until more appropriate moments. Schofield has commented that in narration, “chronology is just such a falsehood... We don’t remember things in sequence and we don’t live chronologically.”

To immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the book, read and listen to this playlist by Anakana Schofield:

I recommend Malarky to people who aren’t afraid to read a book that takes risks.

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