Monday, March 12, 2007


If you puzzled out the twists in Mulholland Drive you'll enjoy doing the same in McCabe's Winterwood. Redmond's idyllic marriage crumbles after Catherine cuckolds him. She takes their daughter Imogen away and Redmond falls apart. There are several intertwined narrative reminiscences, some of happy family life, some of Redmond's forays into the mountains of his youth to discuss local tradition with an aged fiddler named Ned Strange, and some about his current life, wherein Redmond works as a cabby under an assumed name after faking suicide.

Troubling details begin to emerge for the attentive reader. Ned Strange, whose fiddling and story-telling and knowledge of Irish tradition Redmond admires, is charged with child molestation and hangs himself in prison. His ghost haunts Redmond, and ugly facts about Redmond's past manage to creep through his unreliable narrative.

Is Ned what he appears to be? Is he simply a crude doppleganger invested by Redmond with his own dark misdeeds and desires? I can't answer here without spoilers, but the actual events of the story are obscured by Redmond's telling.

McCabe channels John Hawkes and Ramsey Campbell in this bleak character study. I think Campbell's Obsession or The Last Voice They Hear are better riffs on the same theme, but McCabe's is well-done. I'd not read him before and look forward to others.

Been a while since I found the time to read a book. Feels good to start up again.

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