The Glorious Heresies by Gloria McInerney [in Library Journal]
This may be Lisa McInerney’s debut novel, but the author has had plenty of practice chronicling daily life in her lauded blog, “Arse End of Ireland.” Arriving stateside, already impressively awarded (2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction), Heresies melds wrenching reality with bitter comedy, taking on family dysfunction, religious fervor, organized crime, and society’s most unwanted.
In Cork, Ireland, a dead man unites a disparate cast that includes his killer, Maureen, who has recently been relocated from London; her estranged son, Jimmy, who’s the local criminal kingpin responsible for the corpse’s disposal; prostitute Georgia, who attempts a religious conversion to escape her addictions; her teenaged dealer Ryan, who is bursting with first love; and Ryan’s alcoholic father, Tony, who is both a bully and a coward.
As if in promise (or threat) that these often dismal lives must continue, McInerney’s women endure years of unplanned pregnancies and financial hardships, underscoring an inevitable cycle of inherited difficulties likely to plague future generations. Narrator Shelley Atkinson’s range of voices, emotions, and inflections animate and enliven McInerney’s indelible tale.
Verdict: Propelled by equal parts wincing discomfort and maliciously laced laughter, Heresies makes an excellent addition for libraries investing in the recent surge of Irish writers, including Eimear McBride, Colin Barrett, and Tana French.