Solar Bones Review

Author: Mike McCormack. 

Publisher: Tramp Press.

Published: 2016.

Rating: 10/10.


Winner of the 2016 Goldsmith Prize & ‘Novel of The Year’ at the Irish Book Awards, Solar Bones‘s critical praise is undoubtedly well deserved.  

The protagonist Marcus Conway, a ghost, returns to his home, and reminisces on the events that led up to his death, including his job as a civil engineer, his family life, the cryptosporidium outbreak that hit Galway in 2007, and the issues of local government. From this, it is apparent that McCormack engages himself with contemporary issues, tackling subjects that are relevant to an everyday reader but discussing them within the interconnected, intelligent mode of the protagonist’s mind. 

The story locates itself within Mayo & Galway, and explores everyday life from marriage, to kids leaving the nest, as well as shedding light on the intriguing world of corrupt local government and officials who are looking to make an easy buck. 

Solar Bones (2016) makes a nod towards James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) in that it is written in one sentence and contains minimal punctuation. This experimental style works perfectly with Marcus’ web of interconnected thoughts. He weaves together ideas and philosophies about engineering, local government, politics of the body, and parasites, showing how they all influence one another. The writing, thus, is one of the major feats of the novel, providing a unique perspective on the world and everything in it.

Readers shouldn’t be put off by this unique editing feature, of course. McCormack achieves an extremely engaging, intelligent novel that, once you start reading, will sweep you off your feet and make you forget that you’re reading one (very long but enjoyable) sentence. 

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