Skintown by Ciaran McMenamin

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My review of Skintown by Ciaran McMenamin appears in today’s Sunday Business Post Magazine. It’s business (post) as usual I’m afraid re: Iron Paywall, but here’s an excerpt:

McMenamin’s style is […] marked by an anxious vividness that sometimes ends up obscuring, rather than clarifying, the action: “There was genuine doubt between her ears while she waited for me to decide whether or not to accompany her home to the countryside with two mysterious older lunatics under the guise of being her boyfriend, then take a lift back to town all by myself with said lunatics.” Or try this: “I’ve never given much thought to divinity, never mind its powers of intervention, but as I sit in the back of a car preparing to forsake the blue skies of Ulster for the grey skies of a shallow grave, the good Lord himself arbitrates and the Ford Fiesta levitates.” To be truly effective, fictional prose does require the occasional firework-free sentence – if for no other purpose than to orient the reader in space and time. Skintown is so intent on making every sentence zing that it occasionally trips over its own syntactical ambition.

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