The Fields by Kevin Maher

In Kevin Maher's debut novel, The Fields, we meet a young Jim Finnegan at thirteen, youngest and only boy of an Irish Catholic family of five girls. This novel is dotted with musical and fashion trend references that conjure up a sense of place that is quintessentially Dublin in the 1980s, a place and time where the Parish Priest remains a figure of immense authority. With blind faith and Jim's angelic voice his mam unwittingly throws her lamb to the wolf, in the form of Father Luke O'Culigeen. Much revered by his congregation the good Father holds a dark and licentious secret.

The Donohue family Hooley (party) sees young Jim, who has coveted the company of the beautiful seventeen-year-old Saidhbh (Sive) from afar, finally attract her attention after singing a beautiful although drunken rendition of ‘The Fields of Atherny’. While Jim's family thinks he's still into cars and Star Wars, Saidhdh thinks he is capable of so much more, thus begins the study of complex issues surrounding sexuality and adolescence.

As Jim's adolescent life starts to unravel, he and Saidhbh make their way to London where things take a turn in a very different direction with an unforgettable exploration of love, desire and the repercussions of both. Maher provides us with a rich narrative that is colloquial and unflinchingly frank with wit and humour that makes even the darkest of topics approachable.

Review by Kaylene @ Great Escape Books