Justin, Charles &
Fiction, 312 pp., 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
$24.95 cl., ISBN: 1-932112-14-6
"Daimons are not demons. Demons are nefarious
creatures that skulk and rage in the dark. Daimons are radiant
beings that impart a pattern to people, animals, plants, and
So begins this magical, utterly beguiling new
novel by Nina FitzPatrick, author of Fables of the Irish
Uggala is a rainswept, unwelcoming rock off
the west Irish coast, where "nothing happens, very slowly."
Its charmingly insular and backwards inhabitants are known
mainly for once either rescuing or slaughtering the shipwrecked
Spaniards of the Armada — depending on whom you talk
On to this rocky beach is cast Ethna O’Keefe,
the island’s prodigal daughter, pregnant, without prospects,
but oddly undefeated. Her return is heralded in the best Irish
tradition by signs and wonders, coinciding with the arrival
of the island’s new priest, the inhumanly beautiful,
half-dead Father Francis. As welcome, her mother banishes
Ethna to a trailer by the cliffs, and her father puts her
to work washing dishes in the Balor bar. Only the village
rake Danny Ruane, schemer, dreamer, keeper of various women,
seems to welcome her back wholeheartedly.
But all that is about to change, as plans are
afoot to transform Uggala from forgotten backwater to pan-European
tourist hub, with mad, tragic, miraculous and hilarious consequences.
In Daimons, Nina FitzPatrick weaves
a lushly patterned tapestry that combines the mythic Irish
tropes of triumph and sorrow with the magical realism of a
Borges or Marquez. A lush weave of mysticism, pre-destination
and hope, brought to life through a hauntingly beautiful sense
of place and vividly drawn characters, Daimons is a
deeply satisfying novel.