Book Review: The Glorious Heresies

“THE GLORIOUS HERESIES,” A NOVEL, BY  LISA MCINERNEY

PUBLISHER: TIM DUGGAN BOOKS; AUGUST 9, 2016

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Synopsis:  
When grandmother Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by a stranger, she clubs the intruder with a Holy Stone. The consequences of this unplanned murder connect four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex worker who halfheartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan, the most fearsome gangster in the city and Maureen’s estranged son, finds that his mother’s bizarre attempts at redemption threaten his entire organization.
 Biting and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresiespresents an unforgettable vision of a city plagued by poverty and exploitation, where salvation still awaits in the most unexpected places.

Review: “The Glorious Heresies” is the amazing debut novel from author Lisa McInerney and it definitely goes on the list of one of my top ten favorite novels! I finished it last night but wanted to sleep on it before writing the review. What I’ve come up with is that it’s an Irish version of “Pulp Fiction!” The storylines are not at all similar, but the way everyone seems to end up interconnected somehow, the crime, and dark humor all reminded me of “Pulp Fiction.” This novel is an incredible blend of intertwining stories involving Jimmy Phelan and his mother Maureen, Tony Cusack and his son Ryan, Ryan’s girlfriend Karine, drug dealer Robbie and his prostitute girlfriend Georgie, and an ex-prostitute/madam named Tara Duane.

As always I do not leave spoilers, but let me try to give the basic rundown. Maureen kills an intruder with a Holy Stone, so Jimmy, the city’s biggest gangster, gets Tony to help him clean up the mess. Tony is abusive to his teenage son Ryan, and Ryan starts getting into all sorts of trouble. Georgie meets drug user and dealer Robbie and moves in with him, but he later disappears, leading her to various back and forth attempts to quit the sex industry and clean up her act. Ryan and Karine are in love but have all sorts of issues. Tara and her daughter move in next door to Tony and his children, and Tara and Tony do not get along. After killing her intruder, Maureen half-heartedly seeks redemption for her crimes, giving her son plenty of grief and trouble along the way.

So much happens in this novel there is no possible way to touch on it all, especially without spoiling the wild ride for you. The first thing I must say about Lisa McInerney is that she has created and developed fascinating and complex characters in this novel. They are all different in their own ways with their good sides and dark sides, but at some point during the novel, I believe that every one of them meets the other and has some sort of interaction.  “Glorious Heresies” is full of twists, turns, and surprises and is an absolute page-turner. It does jump back and forth between the perspectives of different characters during different time periods, but it’s not confusing. The unique and original storyline of the novel was completely unlike anything I have read before, and I most likely would be challenged to find something of this caliber again.

McInerney’s writing is raw, honest, and beautiful, but still, has hilarious yet disturbing moments. “Glorious Heresies” is truly a gift to the world of literary fiction, standing out among most novels I have read before. I hope to read more from this talented author in the near future!

Learn more about Lisa McInerney by visiting her web page.

Purchase “The Glorious Heresies” on Amazon!

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this fabulous novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

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