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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into small-town life in Ireland
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!
Published on 16 Sep 1999

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Insanity
This is the compelling story of a young man's desent into madness set in an Irish town in the late 50s and early sixties (a thinly disguised Clones). Before Francie pulls us along the slide into insanity, the early descriptions of town life, through a boy's eyes, are compelling.
The Christmas scene where a relatives and townsfolk party at the family home is...
Published on 24 Dec 2008 by Mr. Thomas Cooper


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into small-town life in Ireland, 16 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Butcher Boy (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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Prime Piece of Steak, 17 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Butcher Boy (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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Modern Gothic in full flow, 2 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Butcher Boy (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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Insanity, 24 Dec 2008
By 
This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Paperback)
This is the compelling story of a young man's desent into madness set in an Irish town in the late 50s and early sixties (a thinly disguised Clones). Before Francie pulls us along the slide into insanity, the early descriptions of town life, through a boy's eyes, are compelling.
The Christmas scene where a relatives and townsfolk party at the family home is brilliant, with Francie's miscomprehension throwing the cruelties of town life into razor-sharp focus.
In the later parts of the novel Francie's narrative becomes more self-obsessed, offering hope that the young man can grasp his few opportunities for a normal life and despair as reality slowly slips away.
The second best Irish novel I read in 2008 - the best was the truly exceptional 'That They May Face the Rising Sun' by John McGahern - The Butcher Boy was a really close second.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the tragedy of fading love, 1 Dec 2006
By 
M. L. Sheppard "jawdge" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Butcher Boy (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic comedy of a lost soul, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Kindle Edition)
This is a tale of a boy who is seeking friendship and love and fails dismally at both, but he has a hideously endearing quality about him which makes you long for him to be happy. it is a beautiful portrayal of hopelessness, anger and revenge for something he has brought upon himself.

It is violent and disturbing so not for the faint hearted but I thought it was a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !, 9 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Paperback)
Initially, I was not sure this was the right book for me but I soon got into it and really enjoyed this book. This is a book that has stuck in my memory. So well written. He writes as he thinks (making no allowance for grammatical corrections) so you need an imagination to fully appreciate this book. I have given my copy to family members and hope they enjoy as much as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic, 15 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Kindle Edition)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Darly Comic, McCabe's tour de force, 10 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good buy, 4 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Butcher Boy (Paperback)
I couldn't read this book as it's got parts in it that have some animal cruelty. I think it was farm animals. This however is my grievence not the books. So I passed it onto my brother to read. Don't be put off as it's had some great reviews and it's suppose to be a classic...
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The Butcher Boy
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (Paperback - 11 Jan 2002)
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