Holding - Graham Norton
Reading Challenge Category: A book written by a celebrity
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 lovable characters, and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
Wow, Graham Norton can write! I had to keep reminding myself of the author as it was so hard to pair this book with the TV personality that we know. It was hard to imagine him sitting still long enough to have written such a well thought out and refined story! The story is also very serious as a crime has been committed, so this was the polar opposite of what I was expecting from this celebrity author. It was melancholy, pensive and showed that Graham Norton has a fantastic talent other than being a face of TV comedy and chat shows! I was really drawn into the story straight from the beginning where poor PJ is being described, and his life is about to be turned upside down. The story is about a sleepy Irish village where the most exciting thing to ever happen was the disappearance of a young boy 25 years ago! That is all about to change, and the listless inhabitants are about to get an awakening and realise they have just let their lives pass them by in the blink of an eye! With the uncovering of a body on a building site speculation runs wild and accusations are flung left right and centre. No one is prepared for the truth to be set free. It is a very moving and heartrending story with so many twists and turns. I didn’t figure out any of the endings, and they were all a pleasant surprise and perfectly executed. I liked the shake-up of the characters; it really felt as if you were along for the ride with them watching them flower and grow and finally wake up from the stupor they had been in. Even though there is jumping from character to character within each chapter, it is obvious that this is happening and there is no confusion. It is so expertly written. I was very impressed.