This review is written with thanks to Canongate Books and Netgalley for my copy of Himself.
It is 1976 and Mahony arrives in his home town of Mulderrig with a photograph of himself and his mother, and a note. As Mahony begins to familiarise himself with the local community, he suspects that the circumstances surrounding his mother's disappearance are not all that they seem. With the help of Mrs Cawley and the people in the village, will Mahony discover what really happened to his mother?
The beauty of Himself lies in the atmosphere that Kidd creates around the village of Mulderrig, The descriptions Kidd uses, in particular the metaphors and personification, are very poetic, and helped me to build a sense of place. This was important for me, as the novel is set in Ireland - a place with which I am not familiar. I found that my ability to gain a sense of the environment about which Kidd writes helped me to maintain my interest in Mahony's story.
Throughout the novel, Kidd emphasises the sense of community that existed in Mulderrig at the time it is set. As a result, Himself is full of colourful characters that have endearing traits that are recognisable in people in my own life. These characters also give the novel warmth and humour, which makes it easy to read and engage in the story.
In the novel, some of the characters can be seen talking to ghosts. The supernatural aspect of Himself allows Kidd to create the atmosphere which makes the novel so distinctive; however, at times, I found that this made some parts of the novel less believable and slightly confusing.
Overall, Himself is a promising debut from Kidd and I look forward to seeing how her writing develops in future.
Himself is released on 27th October and is available from Amazon.