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Winterwood by Patrick McCabe
Winterwood is narrated by Redmond Hatch. In the 1980s, he was a London-based journalist who returns to his childhood home of Slievenageeha to chronicle the changes wrought by a modern Irish society. He meets Ned "Pappie" Strange, whose fiddle and stories delight the town's children and represents the old Irish culture that it stands to lose. Hatch is also captivated by Strange. Hatch later finds out that Strange was a murderous pedophile who hanged himself in prison. Hatch's marriage unravels with his wife's infidelity, and she gets a restraining order against him by claiming domestic abuse. Unable to contact his wife and beloved daughter, Hatch develops a drinking problem and is either haunted by Strange or hallucinates Strange's presence in his life. Hatch fakes his suicide and creates a new identity. He believes he may turning into Ned Strange, and a chance encounter with his ex-wife on the streets of Dublin pushes him to the point of no return. Patrick McCabe's novel has received positive reviews with The Guardian saying, "His new novel, Winterwood, a sustained achievement of often dazzling brilliance, examines the old versus new Ireland conflict. This has been successfully attempted before, not least by McCabe himself, but arguably never pulled off with such enlightenment and finesse as within these pages."
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