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Winterwood
 
 

Winterwood [Kindle Edition]

Patrick McCabe
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description

Review

'A true original' John Banville 'This is McCabe's greatest work ... A sustained achievement of often dazzling brilliance ... Winterwood is that rarest thing: a novel dealing with humanity at its most twisted and bleak, but one that leaves the reader feeling curiously uplifted. And that's because we realise that we've been standing in an illuminating beam whose source is, and can only be, truly great art' Irvine Welsh, Guardian 'A masterpiece' Observer 'He is the fortunate possessor of a savage and unfettered imagination; his books dissect life's miseries with a gleaming comedic scalpel' The Times

Review

'A true original' John Banville 'This is McCabe's greatest work ... A sustained achievement of often dazzling brilliance ... Winterwood is that rarest thing: a novel dealing with humanity at its most twisted and bleak, but one that leaves the reader feeling curiously uplifted. And that's because we realise that we've been standing in an illuminating beam whose source is, and can only be, truly great art' Irvine Welsh, Guardian 'A masterpiece' Observer 'He is the fortunate possessor of a savage and unfettered imagination; his books dissect life's miseries with a gleaming comedic scalpel' The Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 375 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747585989
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (3 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747583617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747583615
  • ASIN: B0034C8M06
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #172,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling and manipulative 7 May 2014
By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I have always thought Patrick McCabe’s ‘The Butcher Boy’, published in 1992, to be one of the great novels of the late 20th century. I have been less impressed by the author’s other books although his voice has always remained uniquely disturbing. This is certainly true of ‘Winterwood’, published in 2006, which plays with time, character and identity in a feverish mind-bending manner. It says much about McCabe’s ability that he remains in control of the fragmentary events described in this remarkably bleak novel.

The narrator, whom we soon come to realise is distinctly unreliable, is Redmond Hatch, Red, born in the rural backwaters of the Midland mountains of Ireland. His life, or rather lives, takes him from the village of Slievenageeha to Dublin and then on to the urban sprawl of London. Early on we meet the fiddler, Pappie Ned Strange, never short of a story or a tune, which charm adults and, quite naturally, leads to their suggesting that he teach their children about Irish folklore, to play the violin or entertain them by organising ceilidhs. With this knowledge it is pretty clear where McCabe’s story will take us.

Hatch first meets the old man when he is writing an article for the Leinster News about ‘Irish folklore and changing ways in Ireland’. He listens to Pappie’s stories, including those about his own father and his Uncle Florian, in the latter’s tumbledown shack whilst sharing glasses of potcheen. For a journalist he seems surprisingly reluctant to ask any questions. Hatch is married to the much younger Catherine, with whom he had fallen in love at first sight and the birth of their daughter, Imogen – Immy, is the happiest moment of his life.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teetering on the edge of reality 26 April 2010
Format:Paperback
In Winterwood Patrick McCabe once again dances arount the edges of reality. His constantly unreliable narrator, some-time journalist Redmond Hatch, and asynchronous storytelling leaves you guessing for much of the ride.
Starting with the mundane - newly coupled bliss - the descent is into some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. But what a descent and even the ending leaves you perplexed as to what was 'real' and what was the product of, I assume a psychosis. In short a really fantastic read (in all senses of the word). And along the way McCabe manages to critique Ireland's growing pains from 80s economic basket-case to rampant Celtic Tiger (even that seeems a long time ago now).
Anyway, I loved this book, but I accept it is not to everyone's taste. There are no heroic characters, little dialogue and really no redemption, in their place is a complex dance along the cliff-edge of reality.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever and absorbing. 11 Oct 2007
By James
Format:Paperback
This is an involving and very creepy tale from one of Ireland's most original writers. I'm not going to go to great lengths to divulge the plot (other reviewers have already done that!); all you need to know is that it is an intimate first person narrative of a very damaged mind, and it's very difficult to pull back from. Frankly, I'm not going to bother my head over whether or not it's a parable of modern Ireland; it's a compelling read. I would agree with the comment made by an earlier reviewer, to the effect that if you emphatically don't like Patrick McCabe, don't read his books. Whether or not McCabe is a literary genius is something you could argue over for hours, but it's a fact that he's one of the best at what he does out there at the moment. Interestingly, the negative reviewer didn't give any examples of the 'weightier' gothic literature that he claims to prefer. Might that be because he fears exposing his own taste to citicism? Or is it that he simply can't honestly think of any genuine examples?
I'm not sure if 'enjoy' is the right word to use for the reading of 'Winterwood', but it certainly makes an impression.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling 16 July 2007
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Winterwood is a short novel - the narrative of Redmond Hatch. Redmond is an underachiever, having never quite made it in journalism or in various jobs around London. Redmond fails, too, to make family life with his wife Catherine and daughter Imogen quite work. There are little triumphs, but not enough to sustain expectations.

As Redmond's home life and career fall apart, so does his mental health. He is not allowed access to Imogen - although whether this was before or after his own mental deterioration is never quite clear - and this causes his whole life to fall apart. He fakes his own death, traces Catherine and Imogen back to Dublin and tries to reestablish contact with Imogen in the only way he knows how.

Throughout the narrative, Redmond is haunted by Ned Strange, an old and creepy man from Redmond's home village of Slievenageeha. Quite how and when the two first met is, perhaps, ambiguous. But they did meet and Ned's stories start to haunt Redmond. The haunting starts to become literal as Redmond descends into greater madness.

At the same time as the madness develops, Redmond briefly enjoys some success as a television producer and finds a second wife. For a brief while, it seems as though Redmond might turn a corner. But the past starts to catch up again with him, and he finds that the demons are still there. Jealousy, rejection, loneliness and guilt. Redmond's obsession with Ned increases as he believes he is actually turning into Ned.

Redmond's voice is chaotic. He hops about from one point in time to another, making the sequencing and chronology difficult to follow. This is quite important, as it disguises which actions are causes and which are the effects. Despite this, the actual writing is lucid and, in places, of poetic beauty.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird
This book is good but a bit weird, it's worth a read as it is only a couple of hundred pages so won't take long.
Published 18 months ago by JoC
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Different Read
This book has a confusing beginning which could easily put somebody off reading it. It has interesting twists and turns. Very readable. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Cheryl Hodges
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Irish novel
Having had some doubts about the merits of the film 'The Butcher Boy' (I did not read the book) I did not expect to be too impressed by 'Winterwood' but impressed I was, by the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Callmerick
3.0 out of 5 stars winterwood
Think of a Chuck Palahniuk or Bret Easton Ellis novel set in Ireland's booming Celtic Tiger era and you will not be a kick in the arse away from the premise of Winterwood. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2009 by R. Kennedy
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I found the first half of this novel really creepy and gripping...then it all started to get a bit repetitive and the mimicking of an unhinged mind derailed the narration so much... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2008 by Vyvien A. Starbuck
5.0 out of 5 stars mc cabe s best?
REALLY A GREAT READ.I READ THIS BOOK IN TWO SITTINGS AS I COULDENT PUT IT DOWN!
SIMILAR IN THEME TO SOME OF HIS OTHER BOOKS BUT NONE THE WORSE FOR THAT. Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2007 by G. M. Somers
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories within stories within stories.
Raymond Hatch only wants the best for his wife and child, but is haunted by the ghostly figure of Ned Strange, a famous Irish storyteller, though one recently convicted of the... Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2007 by fatpaddykillah
5.0 out of 5 stars genius
Winterwood is McCabe's most extraordinary and gripping book yet. I literally was not aware of breathing until I put it down with a sign after reading it in one short sitting. Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2006 by Kait Corrigan
4.0 out of 5 stars Book of the year contender
For me, Winterwood is neck and neck with McCarthy's The Road in the book-of-the-year stakes. In a strange way, it's not dissimilar - a trawl through the belly of hell, except... Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2006 by Guano
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