In the Forest, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Moving novel by one of Ireland's finest contemporary novelists, and inspired by a notorious true-life triple murder. IN THE FOREST, set in the west of Ireland, is the story of a young man who shoots dead three people in a forest glade.

The young man, Mich O'Kane, is 'not all there in the head' as one character puts it.

By puberty he is already committing petty crimes, ending up in borstal.

By the time he is back home he has also served time in a British jail and is an institutionalised criminal.

His sexual fantasies - revolving around women in the village - eventually centre on Eily, an artist and single mother, who lives with her son Maddie.

One day Mich pounces, and orders Eily to drive them to the woods nearby.


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Review by

I have only read the short stories of O'Brien in the past. This novel was interesting in that there were dozens of narrators all taking turns in telling their insight into the life of Michen O'Kane who becomes obsessed with a single mother, Eily who lives alone in the woods. The setting is described well as is the lives of these townsfolk who know the unfortunate circumstances of this youth gone wrong, but even those circumstances do not quite add up to the psychopathic behavior of Mich. O'Brien writes well. I enjoyed the narrative style and the portrayal of the Western Ireland country.

Review by

This is a disturbing novel which uses fictional characters to depict a real-life series of murders in Country Clare and Country Galway Ireland. The images are vivid and graphic.In 1994, a young artist and her three year old son were missing and later found to be murdered near her isolated cottage. During the same time period, a priest met a similar fate at the hands of a seasoned criminal whose name was Brendan O'Donnell.This is the backdrop for O'Brien's novel as she takes us on a journey inside the mind of a young man who not only lost his mother, but was abused by priests, his father, prison guards and was failed by a woefully inadequate, neglectful child welfare system.The writing style reminded me of Truman Capote's famous book In Cold Blood, wherein the callous murderers of the Clutter family were examined and portrayed in a manner where the perpetrators appeared to be victims of their wretched past.Honestly, I related more to the innocent victims that were murdered than to the murderer.

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