First of all, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Canongate for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really liked this book. It is funny but sad at the same time, full of emotions, witty descriptions and quirky characters. It reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman’s works but the writing and storytelling is even better. (Sorry Neil)
Our story takes place in a world where teenage girls go missing, grumpy old men feed foxes(very much like ours) and Saints stroll the streets without a soul being able to see them. Well,everyone except Maud.
The hesitant clairvoyant Maud is an underpaid social worker with a sharp sense of humour:
It’s funny how humans and care workers adapt. On my first day I thought the reek of Mr Flood’s house would take the top of my head off. By the end o my shift I could eat a fig roll if I breathed through my mouth.
Maud can see the beings from after life, mostly saints carelessly wandering around as a part of her daily life. She can see St Valentine by the fridge, or St George can pass by when she’s sipping her coffee in a cafe. Most of these Saints are quite interesting types, you would expect them to be boring and bland maybe, but they are full of sarcasm and nosiness.
The grumpy old man, ‘The Hoarder’ of this story, Cathal Flood is Maud’s new assignment. He lives in a grand house which is not looked after and filled with all sorts of objects, trinkets and junk. He hates his son but looks after his cats and a wild fox. Maud befriends Cathal, and gets interested in his family’s past. As the old man opens up to her, with the help of her clairvoyance she will discover there is more in the past of Flood’s than it seems.This book is a parade of quirky characters. The transgender sidekick – landlady Renata, Cathal Flood – swinging between being an artist and a complete lunatic, the Saints, appearing everywhere, with their expressed views and openness. I loved each one of them! Also the story got me hooked, although some of it was fairly predictable I found it impossible to drop the book before the last page.
I would love to read more of Jess Kidd. Her writing is funny and pure. I also loved the ending and would hope very much to read another novel with same characters!
In Renata’s eyes there is the creak and pitch of thousand ships and the moon on the water and the song of a sad drunken deckhand.
“It’s grief, you see, Maud.”“What is?”“That causes people never to throw anything else away, ever again. Not even a crisp packet. They can’t take another loss. Believe me. I’m no stranger of bereavement.”
“…the loveliest eyes are found in the heads of women who have suffered.” He smiles. Damage lies at their shining core…”
“Jobs are very dangerous.” She closes her eyes. “Disappointment, lung disorders, boredom, stress, futility, suicide, heart disease, disillusionment, diabetes, strokes.”