Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk

Flap copy from ARC:
"Three sisters. Three tales. And a secret, dark as night.
When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post office's dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story he's ever heard- and her tale has only just begun.

Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding itinerant story-teller Jim, who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his mythic narratives. The Walsh sisters were not immune to "darling" Jim's powers of seduction, but found themselves in harm's way when they began to undercover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth- and for the vanished third sister- while there's still time.

And in the woods, the wolves from Jim's stories begin to gather."

In this story within a story, postman Niall finds the diary of a young woman at the center of a murder mystery, and begins to reconstruct the torrid tale behind the murder house and a series of missing women in the west of Ireland. As we learn more about the three Walsh sisters, their Aunt Moira, and the diabolical itinerant storyteller Darling Jim, a brooding sense of foreboding develops that sets the tone for the entire novel.

Between the story within a story within a story format, the mystical elements, and the country appropriate language, I feared this novel might crumble beneath the weight, but instead it transported me to a place of suspended disbelief where everything made its own strange sort of sense. I was most impressed that the author managed to draw out the anxiety to a fever pitch and then maintain that level of intensity until the very last pages of the novel.

The writing is crisp, the language spot-on, and the story itself a truly unusual addition to my library. I started reading and simply couldn't put this book down, no matter how much I wanted to at times as the story grew darker and darker. I highly recommend this magnificent book and look forward reading more by this talented writer.


Anonymous said...

A diabolical itinerant storyteller - that has to be one of the best character descriptions I've ever seen! Stories about stories are always fun, and this sounds like an especially good one. Great review!

Amy said...

Wow! And this is a really well written review that makes me want to read the book! :)