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The Holy City (2009)

de Patrick McCabe

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Now entering his sixty-seventh year, Chris McCool can confidently call himself a member of the Happy Club: he has an attractive and exceedingly accommodating Croatian girlfriend and has been told he bears more than a passing resemblance to Roger Moore. As he looks back on the glory days of his youth, he recalls the swinging sixties of rural Ireland: a decade in which the cool cats sang along to Lulu and drove around in Ford Cortinas, when swinging meant wearing velvet trousers and shirts with frills, and where Dolores McCausland - Dolly Mixtures to those who knew her best - danced on the tops of tables and set the pulses of every man in small-town Cullymore racing. Chris McCool had it all back then. He had the moves, he had the car, and he had Dolly, a woman who purred suggestive songs and tugged gently at her skin-tight dresses, a Protestant femme fatale who was glamorous, transgressive and who called him her very own 'Mr Wonderful'. She was, in short, the answer to this bastard son of a Catholic farmer's prayers. Except that there was another Mr Wonderful in town, a certain Marcus Otoyo - a young Nigerian with glossy curls and a dazzling devoutness that was all but irresistible. Although Chris, of course, was interested in Marcus only because of their shared religious fervour and mutual appreciation of the finer things. That was all. Besides, Mr McCool was always a hopeless romantic - some even described him as excessively so - but is there anything wrong with that? Spiked with macabre humour and disquieting revelations, The Holy City is a brilliant, disturbing and compelling novel from one of Ireland's most original contemporary writers.… (més)
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The Holy City is unreliably yet truthfully narrated by another of McCabe’s mentally unstable characters, Christopher J. McCool, currently, in his late sixties, a resident of his own little abode he refers to as “The Happy Club.” McCool’s heyday was the 1960s, when he reveled in the music and wild dress. His town, Cullymore, was changing radically as the world changed. The story switches between then and present time.

The product of an illicit liaison between his protestant mother and a catholic, McCool was not allowed to live with her as a child, only seeing his mother during her furtive visits. McCool has never quite recovered from his abandonment and the scorn of his father.

McCabe doles out McCool’s truth in small bites, hint, and intimations, skillfully. His obsessions and disappointments are the basis for a danger that is never quite spelled out, but can be deduced. ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 14, 2016 |
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Now entering upon one's sixty-seventh year, one is at pains to recall such a blissful degree of contentment - ever.
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Now entering his sixty-seventh year, Chris McCool can confidently call himself a member of the Happy Club: he has an attractive and exceedingly accommodating Croatian girlfriend and has been told he bears more than a passing resemblance to Roger Moore. As he looks back on the glory days of his youth, he recalls the swinging sixties of rural Ireland: a decade in which the cool cats sang along to Lulu and drove around in Ford Cortinas, when swinging meant wearing velvet trousers and shirts with frills, and where Dolores McCausland - Dolly Mixtures to those who knew her best - danced on the tops of tables and set the pulses of every man in small-town Cullymore racing. Chris McCool had it all back then. He had the moves, he had the car, and he had Dolly, a woman who purred suggestive songs and tugged gently at her skin-tight dresses, a Protestant femme fatale who was glamorous, transgressive and who called him her very own 'Mr Wonderful'. She was, in short, the answer to this bastard son of a Catholic farmer's prayers. Except that there was another Mr Wonderful in town, a certain Marcus Otoyo - a young Nigerian with glossy curls and a dazzling devoutness that was all but irresistible. Although Chris, of course, was interested in Marcus only because of their shared religious fervour and mutual appreciation of the finer things. That was all. Besides, Mr McCool was always a hopeless romantic - some even described him as excessively so - but is there anything wrong with that? Spiked with macabre humour and disquieting revelations, The Holy City is a brilliant, disturbing and compelling novel from one of Ireland's most original contemporary writers.

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Mitjana: (2.88)
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