Saturday, 8 December 2018

Graham Norton's novels. Forget Scandi-Noir...try Mammy-Noir


Both "Holding" (2016) and "A Keeper" (2018) are both delightful reads.
Graham Norton is known as BBC top TV host, actor (2 episodes of "Father Ted"), The Telegraph's agony aunt, author of two autobiographies and a non-fiction book on 20th century gay icons. I did not expect the complexities of the characters, the poignancy of the situations or the intricately structured plots spanning several decades.
Both books capture Irish village life - numerous visits to the local pub, nattering in the general store and countless cups of tea being offered. Norton's love of West Cork comes through in "A Keeper" as well as his love of dogs. There is a touching bit midway through about a loyal dog's reaction to the death of his owner: " Dora the collie had continued to sleep on one of his old jumpers till death claimed her too..."
Love, disappointment, loss, secrets, motherhood and new challenges are recurring themes. Things get pretty dark in both novels and Norton knows how to build a cracking climax.