A Goat’s Song, by Dermot Healy

Paperback review

A Goat's Song
A Goat's Song
Author: Dermot Healy
ISBN-13: 978-0571281817
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Guideline Price: €0

It is wonderful to reread A Goat's Song, Healy's masterpiece, grown on a rich compost of love, drink, lust, loss, rage, rural Ireland, Northern Ireland, shame and vomit, and astonishing to think it was first published 21 years ago. Set in Belmullet, Belfast and Derry, it focuses primarily on two characters, their eat-me-alive love affair, and that affair's accompanying dark angel, despair. There's despair also in the story of the RUC father, caught on camera uncharacteristically losing it and beating up a civil-rights marcher. By the novel's end one wonders how Healy got it all down but stayed sane. Like all great literature, it gets the heart racing because of its humanity, not its politics. What a sadness Healy is no longer here to see this beautiful edition. One of his most stunning achievements.