Sunday, 9 April 2017

Book review: Holding - Graham Norton

Graham Norton's masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke - a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

My opinion.
I'm always a bit apprehensive when a tv-personality publishes a book. Did they get published because they're already famous? Or do they actually have a talent?
I needn't have worried with Graham Norton's debut. With Holding, he shows a wonderful insight in his characters. He introduces us to a quiet little Irish village where everyone knows everyone, and all their stories are intertwined somehow. But do they really know each other as well as they do? 
Although there's a lot of different players in this story, I feel like Graham Norton really took the time to let his readers get acquainted with each and every one of them. So much so, that this - to me - read more as a 'dark' drama than a murder mystery. The body and the questions and buried secrets it uncovers almost take a back seat to the emotional drama those villagers endure.
I was intrigued until the very last page and although it's been a while since I've finished the story, I find myself thinking back on Duneen and it's inhabitants quite often.
If Graham Norton was to venture in the world of fiction-writing again, I'd definitely be one of the first in line to read it.
Pleasantly surprised!


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