Hello and Goodbye

by Patrick McCabe

With cartoonishly grotesque characters of the childhood bogeyman kind, McCabe subtly insinuates the dread of these demonic revenge-seekers from beyond the grave, leaving the worst details to the reader’s imagination - in stark contrast to the back-stories of childhood abuse and sectarian violence. Comprising of two novellas in the Irish Gothic style, this is a suitably ghoulish read for Halloween: full of tricks but no treats of the sweet sort.


- Boy, what a night it’s turning out to be, remarked the clown, with a leering melon-slice grin suspended between his ears...
- Bonio is my circus name, he smiled, before continuing:
- I do schools and suchlike, you see, my friend. I work part-time in the morning and in the evening here I am, driving my cab. Isn’t that good? Isn’t it nice being driven by Mr Pom Pom?
The garishly made-up face turned, eyes goggling as he rubber-necked – with two comical bobbins of orange curls wobbling over each ear. Which, as a matter of fact, Valentine found so disarming that he became susceptible to a growing rush of the most positive feeling. Until a presentiment of sorts - of the kind which sometimes gives its particular horror to a dream – acutely gripped him and he found his eyes riveted to the mirror, in which he discovered a dilated gaze as pale as death. There was something truly awful in the driver’s expression. As the vehicle shunted forward and the now mysteriously benign grin hove in with fixed purpose – not without its discernible hint of menace.
- Please call me Bonio, Valentine Shannon.


The Book of Evidence by John Banville

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