A Novel

Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets...Lushly imagined, delightfully original, and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page" (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans).

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother's disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony's presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men), and suspicion (the pious).

Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. This improbable duo concocts an ingenious plan to get the town talking about the day Mahony's mother disappeared and are aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead.

Himself is a simmering mixture--a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets, and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers.
ISBN: 9781501166099
Branch Call Number: FIC Kidd 3564
Characteristics: 375 p


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 13, 2019

9 copies. 8 available. Looked like a good read for the darkness of autumn.

Jan 26, 2019

Very interesting, absorbing and fun. Lots of ghostly happenings in Mulderrig, Ireland, and Mahoney, along with Mrs. Cauley and Doosey, is just the one to figure it all out.... with the help of a few nosy spirits still annoyed and uneasy with their own demises.

Jul 15, 2018

A delightful book with wonderful use of language and a vivid line up of extraordinary characters. Highly recommended. Also very funny.

Jan 28, 2018

This was a well written, poetically phrased and intriguing book. It kept me engaged and guessing for the most part ( though I wasn't floored by the "whodunnit" ending).

Despite the humour & whimsy, it was a bit of a quirky, dark read. Ghosts and supernatural occurrences popped into the story line--a genre bending thing. I loved her writing style even if I didn't quite "get it" at times...and since I'm not a lover of the dark, gory (ghost) descriptions, I could pass on those as well. That said, it is an overall good story.

Oct 04, 2017

Jess Kidd has hit the mark with her debut novel. This is Irish story telling at it's best. Complete with a cauldron of hobgoblins, foul fiends, faeries, pagan symbolism, the iron fisted long (and often corrupt) arm of the Church, police corruption, murder and mayhem, etc. The profanity, even with it's Celtic lilt was overused and was a bit much, as duly noted in another review of this book. Therefore I would recommend this book for a mature audience. Think Miss Marple meets Beetlejuice. If your not familiar with small Irish village colloquialism you may have a hard time getting through the book.

Jul 17, 2017

This is such an incredibly good debut novel. Set in Ireland, the authors uses rich, layered language as she mixes mystery, ghosts, and the power and judgement of the catholic church to dictate "proper" behavior for women, and the consequences of these judgements. I highly recommend!

Jun 15, 2017

I enjoyed 'Himself' by Jess Kidd. An orphaned outsider seeks to find answers about his missing mother in a small isolated Irish town. Everyone knows everyone. Yet, by the end of the story, they must all question how much they really know anyone. The outsider has special talents and gifts. He's handsome, well spoken, and he can see and talk to ghosts. He is soon wondering why so many ghosts seemed to die violently. It's a good story by an entertaining writer.

Jun 08, 2017

Mildly entertaining but ruined by her overuse of "shite" "feck" and farting descriptions. Bleah.

May 31, 2017

Written very much in what I would call the "Irish style" this is a good story. There's a generous mix of nasty characters, dead people/ghosts and good-hearted individuals to keep the story moving along. The ending isn't too surprising but satisfying none-the-less.

May 30, 2017

Jess Kidd's debut novel 'Himself' is quintessentially Irish. Raised in an orphanage, the charming Mahony learns that he was born in Mayo County in a village. He ventured there to find his past, absolve his mother of any guilt, and punish evildoers. He is helped not only by some current residents but paranormal visitors from the past. All in all his foray makes for interesting reading.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top