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Daimons

Nina FitzPatrick

Justin, Charles & Co.
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 places."

So begins this magical, utterly beguiling new novel by Nina FitzPatrick, author of Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia.

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 to.

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.


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