BOOK REVIEW: TWO SOULS

‘Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast, and each will wrestle for the mastery there.’  Faust, Goethe

Two Souls cover

Robbie McManus is tortured. His psychopathic comrade ‘Padre Pio’ McCann is never far from wreaking havoc, his punk cousin ‘Rex Mundi’ has arrived from England and is getting in the way, his father is imploring him to finish his A-levels and get the hell out of Belfast – and then there’s Sabine, the mysterious loner in The Pound who shimmers, trancelike, on the dance floor to the opening track of David Bowie’s Low. Her hair dyed jet black in a Cleopatra cut, she is a moving hieroglyphic that Robbie is desperate to decipher.

From the summer of 1978 to a frenzied Irish Cup Final day nine months later, and, through a series of smuggled ‘prison comms’, to the paramilitary-stalked Belfast streets of the late ’80s, all threads collide in a tense, thrilling denouement. At turns shocking and heart-breaking, Two Souls is a deeply affecting novel that crackles and enthrals, tragically exposing human nature’s futile efforts to make the right decisions and to choose a life worth living.

Henry McDonald is a staff writer for The Guardian and The Observer and has been a journalist covering conflicts around the world but specialising in the Northern Ireland Troubles for more than 30 years. He is the author of eight critically acclaimed non-fiction books including the histories of terror groups ranging from the INLA to the UVF. McDonald grew up in central Belfast and witnessed first-hand many of the key early events of the Troubles from Internment in 1971 to the carnage of Bloody Friday a year later. He was a punk rocker in the 1970s as well as a follower of Cliftonville Football Club, which he supports to this day.

Paperback • €16.95 | £14.99 • 248 pages • 234mm x 156mm • 9781785372575

Advance Praise for Two Souls

‘Go figure that Henry McDonald’s new book is the real thing. The real thing is what McDonald does. Vivid, authentic and scabrously funny. Good news for readers, bad news for other writers.’ – Robert McLiam Wilson

‘Withnail and I meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with a manic dose of Clockwork Orange thrown in for good measure. Two Souls gets to the roots of the Punk generation in Belfast’s darkest recent past and sheds a light on what went on. You won’t forget this novel in a hurry. I’m still reeling.’ – Gerald Dawe

 ‘Buckle up! Henry McDonald’s novel takes the reader on a gritty and violent tour through the underbelly of a city where drugs and politics provide a combustible cocktail. It’s the author’s native city, and he knows it’s heartbeat … this book should come with an X certificate’ – Martin Dillon

‘Any novel whose narrator wears an ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ T-shirt gets my vote any day.’ – Julie Burchill


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