The Good Son by Paul McVeigh

Okay. My first ever review and what better way to start than with a book that is good, astoundingly good, on so many levels – The Good Son by Paul McVeigh. In this novel the ‘good’ son, Mickey, bowls you over with his dreams and aspirations, surprises you with his acute observations and sharp wit, his love for his little sister Wee Maggie, his Ma and his dog Killer. He is a memorable and brilliantly depicted character, of enormous heart and dauntless spirit. This is a fierce coming-of-age story which had me spellbound and riveted from the first page.

At the outset you are dropped into the time, the feel, and the real sense of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, seated alongside the characters in the Donnelly’s kitchen, seeing everything through Mickey’s young eyes. He might be young but he’s no fool. McVeigh’s ability to bring the characters to life in this novel seems effortless, his dialogue is sparkling and witty, the relationships between members of the family and their neighbours crackling with pathos and humour. The plot unfolds seamlessly and unexpectedly, which I loved. Romance it is not, but it is full of love.

I would possibly never have discovered this novel had I not recently attended a workshop with Paul McVeigh (which I would thoroughly recommend if you ever get the chance). I started reading this book not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t enraptured by the cover, but oh boy, the minute I opened the book McVeigh grabbed me by the lapels and kept me on the edge my seat to the end. McVeigh successfully balances and conveys humour, hope and hard-core, working class grit, and it left me with heartburn.  It definitely makes my top 10 list for great read in 2017 and I unreservedly recommend it.

Unfortunately for Australian buyers you cannot buy a printed copy of the book in this country but go and download it, and ask your local bookstore why on earth this multi-award – winning novel is not available.

the good son


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