Lisa McInerney – The Glorious Heresies

Jimmy’s long lost mother Maureen has just accidentally killed Robbie with the Holy Stone in her flat in Cork. Jimmy is one of the toughest cowboys in the city and had gone forty years without living in the same place as his mother. He’s first in line to sort out the murder of the young man and it appears this is not the type situation he’s dealing with for the first time. The Glorious Heresies tells the story of the impact of this murder on a number of very different people in the city.

Ryan is seeing a new girl, Karine, and she’s making everything brighter for him. He reckons if she’s with him in every room in his house it’ll help to change his memories of the place, a home where he’s had some awaful times with his father Tony. Their relationship is a sweet one in many ways and the development of their love for each other is one of the happier stories in the book for the most part.

Tony Cusack is an associate of Jimmy’s and his guts are turned when he finds Robbie on the floor of Jimmy Phelan’s flat. He knows the young man and wonders whether he should tell Jimmy or his mother this as it’s what he’d want if it was himself lying dead. He has to balance these thoughts with the fear of what Jimmy might do if he found out Tony’s prior knowledge of who Robbie was.

Maureen’s back story is revealed later in the book and she certainly has many issues with the church and society in Ireland, something that she’s eager to get across when she’s in a confession box with a priest. Her story shows the devastation that can be caused over many years with a long wait for any redemption at all, if indeed any is ever forthcoming.

We also get the story of Georgie, a prositute that was going out with Robbie before his death. Some of this story was bitterly enraging as she gets dragged into this world that proves pretty impossible to be find a way out of. All of these characters have found themselves caught in a cycle of destruction, with Robbie even feeling he killed himself many years ago when he stopped listening to the music he loved so dearly and ended up listening to the city instead.

The Glorious Heresies a superb book with a brilliant sense of rhythm and dialogue. There’s real humour here in among the intertwined stories of people lost in situations that only ever seem to go in one direction. It shows the dark side of relationships, cities and family life and heralds the arrival of a very exciting new Irish voice in Lisa McInerney.


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