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The Butcher Boy Paperback – 11 Jan 2002

36 customer reviews

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£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (11 Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330328743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330328746
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"I was thinking how right ma was--Mrs Nugent all smiles when she met us and how are you getting on Mrs and young Francis are you both well?...what she was really saying was: Ah hello Mrs Pig how are you and look Philip do you see what's coming now--The Pig Family!"

This is a precisely crafted, often lyrical, portrait of the descent into madness of a young killer in small-town Ireland. Short-listed for the Booker Prize.

Review

Brilliant, unique . . . reading fiction will never be the same again (Roddy Doyle)

The most astonishing Irish novel for many years, a masterpiece (Sunday Independent)

The Butcher Boy takes Irish literature to a place it has never been before. Both familiar and extraordinary, it is the most significant novel to emerge from Ireland this decade (Neil Jordan)

An insidious, funny, breathtakingly horrific novel set in small-town Ireland, switching from mischief to madness as an adolescent obsession turns Dennis the Menace into Jack the Ripper (Observer)

An intense, disturbing and original novel . . . prose which races yet lets you miss nothing (Alan Sillitoe)

Compelling, unashamedly horrible, memorable and sensitive (Times Literary Supplement) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
Narrated through the eyes of young Frankie Brady, the sheer monotony of life in a dreary provincial town coupled with the acute problems of his unhappy parents make for a fascinating and hilarious novel with tragedy never far away.Quite simply a novel which must be read more than once!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Macca on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Butcher Boy is similar in some respects to Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory. Both are narrated by troubled juvenile boys from dysfunctional families and whose actions are driven by emotional poverty; a tragic lack of love and hope. Authors like McCabe and Banks have an incredible talent for creating a compassion for the narrator even as he shocks and revolts us.

I loved The Butcher Boy. What I particularly enjoyed was the deliberate dearth of punctuation which called attention to the sing-song hysteria of Francie. It gave it immediacy and honesty; the innocence of youth so startlingly pure, spoiled.

I have wondered (and at times worried about) why I am drawn to these deeply dark, twisted, violent and disturbing books. I think ultimately it is because of the adenaline infused emotion of being placed right smack inside of the warped mind of the protagonist while at the same time being aware of what is going on outside of the delusion and ignorance. It is a ride like no other!

Irrespective of genre, a good book is one that lives with you and never fully goes away. It leaves an imprint on your consciousness, for whatever reason. This book will remain with me for some time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By frapatroo on 17 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Patrick McCabe's mind must be one dark and strange place. The Ireland he writes of is a country riddled with religious guilt and perverse senses of loyalty. There is a lot of Shamrock on the surface of McCabe's writing, but the bunch is tied with barbed wire dipped in vinegar and chilli. It's testament to the author's skill as a writer that the main character, Francie Brady, holds our sympathy even though he's capable of the most horrific acts. Violently gothic, but bloody funny with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EastSide of the Dee on 10 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Darkly comic, The Butcher Boy, is McCabe's tour de force. He achieves an authentic narrative voice, documenting young Francie's decline into madness. We witness his love, and his loss, the harsh realities of life, the brutality of the catholic church and the adults that fail him. This is an excellent read, both funny and poignant, and Francie Brady is an unreliable narrator of gigantic proportions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback
Narrated by the seriously disturbed - yet curiously empathetic - Francie Brady, as he recalls his youth: "When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done on Mrs Nugent."
The narrative covers around four years, during which time Francie's dysfunctional family life (mother having a breakdown, father a drunk) completely comes to an end. The only stability in his life is his friend Joe - their friendship harks back to an innocent time. But Joe is turning away from Francie's extreme behaviour; growing up, no longer interested in comic books. Worse, he is hanging out with middle class Philip Nugent, on whose family - most particularly his mother - Francie's mind has come round to pinning all his woes.
Strange, delusional yet extremely compelling read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pugwash on 2 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
After reading McCabe's Modern Gothic classic 'The Dead School' for my A-level English Literature course, I was inspired to search out his other works. I have just finished reading 'The Butcher Boy' and don't quite know how to react! I can only describe the style of narrative as a kind of 'fragmented stream-of-consciousness' - the narrator is a disenfranchised boy, Francie, living in late-1950s Ireland who loses his mother and father to suicide and drink respectively and subsequently becomes violently obsessed with well-brought-up schoolboy Philip Nugent, whose own family is in many ways the antithesis of Francie's.
Packed full of bizarre characters such as the paedophilic priest, 'Tiddly', who Francie exploits whilst having a spell in approved school (for defecating on Mrs Nugent's carpet no less!) and Francie's Uncle Alo, with his unrequited love for Francie's mother making him just one example of the sad and deluded lives contained within the book. The tale has enough of the gothic within it to remind me of 'The Wasp Factory', whose narrator leads a similarly confused existence, however the end is far more cruel and will surely have you feeling pity for Francie, no matter how monstrous he has become.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This remarkable story is narrated through the voice of Frances Brady, a schoolboy in a small Irish town. Frances's tale begins with an innocent delinquency when everything going wrong is somebody else's fault. He is a victim of his environment and his innate tendencies. This is a darkly humorous novel full of innocence enveloped by tragedy. Frances has his own viewpoint on his actions and subsequent destiny. He makes a case his life, with it's calamities, that a lawyer would admire. This is a marvellous book that retains it's poignancy and brilliance.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Sheppard on 1 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
Well, I read this book many years ago but it still resonates with me today. It's the unusual mix of innocence and hurt expressed via a young lad with a great turn of phrase..the comical voice makes the tragedy all the more poignant. Seeing the enthusiasm Francie has for comics, friends and his parents slowly ebb away has to be one of the most heartbreaking stories in literature.

The film by Neil Jordan is a great adaptation..check out the soundtrack. Also, read the liner notes to the cd...one of the saddest but truest pieces of writing..about the tragedy of love not lasting forever (the underlying theme of the novel) Everything just seems to come together perfectly in this story. Very highly recommended. One of my favourite novels ever. Superb.
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