The Butchers: masterful plot about pandemic and upheaval

Ruth Gilligan’s uncanny novel has a terrible dark heart and is set around the BSE virus

Ruth Gilligan: Her pacy and evocative fifth novel, The Butchers, interlinks the  narratives of two families and one outsider.

Ruth Gilligan: Her pacy and evocative fifth novel, The Butchers, interlinks the narratives of two families and one outsider.

Early spring and a mysterious, swiftly spreading virus takes hold in England. In Ireland, fears of cross-contamination and wild rumours as to its cause abound in a country gripped by impending political and economic change.

The Butchers, Ruth Gilligan’s pacy and evocative fifth novel, is set, not in 2020, but in 1996, although inevitably some parallels seem uncanny, reading it at a time of a pandemic and resulting societal upheaval.

The Irish Times
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