- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (4 Jun. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847673295
- ISBN-13: 978-1847673299
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.5 x 21.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,847,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ghosts and Lightning Paperback – 4 Jun 2009
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"Ghosts and Lightning is a powerful novel and Trevor Byrne is a very powerful writer. The narrator, Denny, and the others around him are great characters, often funny, sometimes frightening, always very human. I loved it." (RODDY DOYLE)
"This is an amazing book, written with force and passion. And Denny is a very funny and slightly demented tour guide to twenty-first century Dublin. A gripping and dark ride to the mad side of town, Ghosts and Lightning marks Byrne as a writer to get hooked on." (MATT HAIG)
Ghosts and Lightning is engaging and funny. Trevor Byrne delivers an acute portrayal of loss
in a story filled with warmth, humour and wonder.
"Byrne's voice crackles with energy and dark humour in a richly-evoked novel of Dublin family life." (Irish Independent)
"Byrne is depicting a similar kind of urban underclass to the one Roddy Doyle has written about, with the same humour and attention to detail...Also in common with Doyle, Byrne does it without being patronizing or pitying." (Scottish Review of Books 2009-05-01)
"Funny and entertaining, yet tinged with sadness and desperation . . . there is much to applaud in Byrne's powerful debut. His writing is concise and unfussy, yet not without literary flourishes . . . Judging by this poignant, compelling and often deeply comic tale of life on the margins of Irish society, Byrne seems certain to enjoy greater longevity than the Celtic tiger." (Sunday Business Post 2009-06-28)
"Lurching, wisecracking, poignant and drunken . . . engaging, exhuberant, hilarious . . . Fans of Roddy Doyle will be agreeably entertained, while the semantically minded may be inclined to marvel at the numerous variations on the word "fuck"." (Catherine Taylor Guardian 2009-06-27)
"Trevor Byrne's first novel looks like the Irish debut we have been waiting for, a novel which could fill out our incomplete literary map of Ireland and allow southwest Dublin to take its place alongside Toibin's Enniscorthy, McCabe's Monaghan or Doyle's Northside." (Barry McRea Irish Times 2009-06-20)
An outstanding debut from a young Irish talentSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Through a Pint Glass Darkly...
Ghosts and Lightning is the debut novel of Trevor Byrne, a young Dubliner, that has already seen him praised by the likes of Roddy Doyle - a rare feat. Upon reading the book, it's easy to see why.
Set largely in the poorer suburbs of Dublin, a place I know only too well, the narrator Denny returns home from Wales after hearing of his mother's passing. Suddenly, the realities of Irish life return in all their gritty and morally grey forms with Denny - a moral man - thrown back into the moral dillemma of his drug and drink ravaged, prejudiced, and political-correctness-be-damned Dublin lingo and loyalties. This is not the Dublin you see from a tourist bus - a place of colourful boats and scripted histories and Celtic jewellery going cheap. This isn't where you want your roots to be, it's where you want to leave.
Neither is this novel, in many ways, really about ghosts, though it is about hauntings - the memories of the past, of Denny's mother, of misery in all its forms finding transcendence through humour, American wrestling (!), football, drinking and dancing and mythic flights of the imagination (punctuated, at times, by lightning flashes of violence). Denny inherited his mother's wild irreverence and imagination, and with it he takes us on an honest and, occasionaly, frightening tour of Dublin and the surrounding environs, eventually going North in search of meaning and freedom, to mourn, to touch an ancient magic, to make good with his life.Read more ›
The heart of the book is Denny, returning home following the death of his mother. It's perhaps not a hugely original starting point, but his thoughts are so well expressed that they will resonate with a lot of people in their twenties and thirties. The conflicting feelings about old friends - warmth, pity, frustration - are well written and seem based in personal experience.
Events in the book are episodic and meandering, with some more memorable than others, but manage to cover the whole spectrum of human emotion. In the end though, it's the tone of the book and the atmosphere that it creates that stay with you.
Denny leads us through some very real parts of the city and beyond, in his own friendly and conscious style, while trying to cope with returning to Dublin and the personalities and antics of his (sometimes) reprobate friends, face up to the possibility of there being a ghost residing in his family home, traverse much mishap and adventure, while all the while trying to make sense of the death of the Mother he loves.
It's a light and rewarding read, with surprising depth. As Roddy Doyle has already commented, the story is a very human one; we're bound up with all manner of frailty, and Byrne understands this, dropping the book's characters at our door and leaving us to try to understand, perhaps judge and/or reject, or possibly, empathise with theirs.
As noted in other reviews, there isn't necessarily a steady plot: our lives are often plotless. What we have here is an assortment of events and adventures, held together by Denny's own pursuit of closeness and friendship, love and ultimately, understanding.
This is a brilliant and weighty debut novel from a new and very talented author. It's just a great fun read, superbly written - the dialogue may be tricky for those not used to the accent, but well worth any effort: it's authentic - with something very real and moving and important at its heart - people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I won't give a synopsis as others have already done that but I can confirm that, although it's in the vernacular and concerned with a set of clueless wasters, the writing is... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Livia
Absolutely brilliant! did a critical essay on this book in my second year of uni and thoroughly enjoyed writing it! (got a good mark too! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Steele113
Arrived next morning even though I only ordered it the evening before. Book was great too, look forward to his next one.Published on 30 Mar. 2013 by Donna
I loved this book. Simple as that. Trevor Byrne is a highly skillful writer, good enough so's you don't really notice it. Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2012 by DJK
I started this book after my wife kept telling me to read it, as she thought that as a Irish man i would understand it better. Read morePublished on 12 Nov. 2011 by Kevirish
Warm, funny, poignant and profound. The narrator, Denny Cullen, is an utterly convincing and extremely likeable guide to modern day Dublin, and the cast of supporting characters... Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2010 by johnny_deformed
Written as part of an M Phil in Creative Writing, Ghosts & Lightning is the first novel of young Irish author Trevor Byrne. Read morePublished on 20 July 2010 by H. Albert
A really funny book with a heart of gold, a great pace, a smattering of mythic allusions and musings, and brilliantly evoked characters. Read morePublished on 17 July 2010 by Timrek the Gorf
I had high hopes for this book with it being set in Dublin and found the use of an Irish dialect interesting. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2010 by D. Gibson