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Goat’s Song

Dermot Healy

‘One of the most powerful pieces of fiction to emerge from Ireland in the past few decades.’ Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books

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Jack Ferris, playwright, drunk, is mired in contemplative misery in a fisherman’s cottage on the windy bleak west coast of Ireland. Mourning his love affair with Catherine Adams, an actress and Protestant from the North, he summons her instead in his imagination. In doing so, he tells the story of her father Jonathan, failed parson and retired RUC man, shamed into exile by a moment of violence in Derry years ago. Masterly, elegiac, A Goat’s Song conjures the contrasting landscapes and opposing myths of a nation divided.

Critic Reviews

'A Goat's Song, the story of two savage break-ups, is a rare and powerful book . . . At the end, intellectually aroused, emotionally wrenched, stunned with the imagery of place and drink and crumpled hopes, I was literally shaking.'

E. Annie Proulx
Critic Reviews

'A Goat's Song is one of the big Irish novels. It's a wrangle, an existential tussle, one of those books that makes its own language.'

Anne Enright
Critic Reviews

'It is a beautiful piece of work; no doubt about it, the real stuff.'

James Kelman
Critic Reviews

'I have read A Goat's Song three times now and I am going back to read it again . . . it haunts my dreams.'

Patrick McCabe
Critic Reviews

'It is in its scope that A Goat's Song is most impressive. Healy interweaves a not quite documentary verisimilitude of landscape with the taut strands of the novel's strident, yet cloistered romance. His portrayal of the myths of Belfast and the West coast pierces through the stereotypes, while helping us to see clearly the justification for their existence . . . This wonderful celebration and lament creates its own hunger, its own momentum.'

Tom Adair, Independent

Dermot Healy was a poet, novelist and dramatist. He lived in County Sligo and was the author of A Goat’s Song, Sudden Times, The Bend for Home and Long Time, No See. He won the Hennessy Award (twice), the Tom Gallon Award, the Encore Award and the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award. He died in 2014.

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