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A Book Club Take on The Boy In The Gap

15/04/2011

They’re a fussy lot in our Book Club but each and everyone gave the thumbs up to Paul Soye’s The Boy In The Gap. Can it really be that this is his first novel, so fine is the writing achievement?

We were into the suspense from the very first line, I remember the first night ‘on remand’ watching the news, and the tension is held right to the end through the device of having Jack  Sammon – the main character – jot down his thoughts in prison in an exercise book; more precisely, in The Ireland Series No. 03. Coipleabhar – 120 pages. Paul Soye’s writing is exquisitely precise.

Jack’s father dies when he is six and his mother takes on a partner, to whom Jack and his brother assign the nick name Latchico. For our non-Irish book club member we spent a few giddy minutes coming up with expressions to explain our understanding of the term Latchico: ass-hole, wastrel, good-for-nothing, gob-shite….

The story is set in te west of Ireland, in the area of County Mayo around Clew Bay ‘like a grey-blue desert from Achill and Clare Island to Newport and Westport, out along by the Reek…’ The landscape is finely evoked as is the animal life. The young boys get their early sex education as they watch a ram circle with twisted nostrils and mount his first ewe.

The book reaches into deep psychological recesses and the trauma that can erupt when an individual’s balance is disturbed: ‘The world shakes. The world and the delicate things around you are no longer stable.’

There is a consensus among the Kyleglass Book Worms: already we are looking forward eagerly to Paul Soye’s next novel.

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