In this strange, hypnotic novel, Chris McCool, the dandyish, debonair playboy of a small and insulated community called The Happy Club, reflects his two lives: the one he lives, and the darker one he's tried hard to forget. The illegitimate son of a rich Protestant landowner's wife and a poor Catholic farmer, Chris wanted to be a sixties swinger--driving a Ford Cortina, owning a pair of purple velvet flares--but, despite his good intentions, could not overcome the mysteries and regrets of his own upbringing. With a series of Freudian flourishes, McCabe gives us a narrator whose own insecurities, and most importantly his obsession with a young Catholic Nigerian boy named Marcus Otoyo, prevent him from seeing the truth of what he is capable of. Are Chris' inner struggles with his parentage and religion merely personal quests--or do they mask an angrier, more dangerous person beneath? Tense, artful, and eerily compelling, The Holy City is a novel of faith, anxiety, and dark secrets, with a stunning and brilliant conclusion.
McCabe (Winterwood) delivers a claustrophobic indictment of failed peace and love, as seen through the eyes of a nut job Irish baby boomer. C.J. "Pops" McCool, the illegitimate son of a wealthy, married housewife, is raised by a surrogate mother in the "Nook," a plot of land buried deep within his birth mother's estate. However, when candy-striped blazers and the Kinks enter his world, McCool dives headlong into the swinging lifestyle, developing an unhealthy attachment to a Nigerian teenager and dating an older woman. As McCool's cultural obsessions grow out of control, he acts on a taboo impulse and starts a chain of events that leads to his institutionalization. Nearly 40 years later, living with a doting wife, McCool attempts to reconcile his youth with his supposedly cured present state. At turns irate, mystified and nostalgic, McCool's reminiscences stand as a haunting rejoinder to his youth's groovy promise. McCabe's dynamic and flawed antihero is a creepy delight, the perfect guide to some very dark material. (Jan.)
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Bloomsbury Publishing USA
December 22, 2008
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