Holding – Graham Norton

Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 304
Date released: 11/10/2016
Date read: 04/01/2021

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains – suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn – are discovered on an old farm, the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As a frustrated P.J. struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his professional life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regrets.

Up until this year, I’d never read a Graham Norton book. I was a bit wary as to whether he just got a publishing deal because of his name. but whether that’s the case or not, he thoroughly deserves it.

Norton has such an ease of writing that is so accomplished he reads like an old master. The words he uses and the emotion he pulls out of you is just so sublime.

This is, in effect, a murder mystery, and they aren’t the top of my favourite genre list. And yet, I read this in the space of two days as I just couldn’t bear to leave the little community Graham had built.

When writing about one’s home country, it might be tempting to paint it in a sparkling light, hide the negatives. But Graham is brutally honest about this – albeit partially fictionalised – little Irish village.

He doesn’t hide anything – Holding explores love, loss, regret, jealousy, secrets, divorce, death, alcoholism, sex; basically, Holding explores life. In all its smooth parts and rough parts. If you’re in two minds of reaching any of his books, please put that doubt to the back of your mind. You won’t regret it for one second.

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