- 30 Jul 20
Read our review of Ruth Gilligan's novel below.
Ruth Gilligan’s magical fifth novel will have you hooked on its every word, enveloped in an ominous atmosphere brought to life by Celtic folklore and modern Irish society.
The author’s talent for curating an array of figures with desires, needs and flaws grips from the outset. There’s adolescent Una, who yearns to break free from the cage of her gender; teenage Davey, who harbours his own inner secrets; the unsatisfied Grá, who feels suffocated by her husband’s livelihood; and dairy farmer Fionn, who wants to make amends for his violent past mistakes by saving his wife from cancer.
Spurred on by a mysterious photograph of a man found upside down on meat hooks, the novel utilises various viewpoints and time periods to tell the powerful back story of The Butchers – a group of men who carry on ancient rituals in farming. In particular, the use of landscape illustrates the lessons we can learn from examining surroundings, and the foolishness of believing that humans hold a higher power over nature itself.