Every now and then a writer comes along that really excites you because she, or he, is just so amazingly different. It doesn’t always have to be a high-brow reading experience that challenges conventions of grammar or story construction. Sometimes it can just be a writer that is fun to read and hard to put down. It is into this category that Jess Kidd falls and I think she might have become my new obsession.
Mr Flood’s Last Resort had languished in my book pile for a very long time, due to my own innate prejudice concerning Irish writers. Somewhere along the line I had realized that Kidd was Irish and that could only mean one thing; that the novel was going to be terribly depressing. It didn’t matter that the cover was fun and interesting, or that the description on the back made no mention of death, poverty or the potato famine; no, I was going to hate it and it was going to depress me. Now, I’m not so stupid as to not realize what an utterly ridiculous viewpoint this is. I do find however that, somewhere along the line, I have become conditioned to believe that Irish writers are more likely to focus on topics of terrible depression than anything else. Thankfully I had made a silent pact with myself to read through my pile and it was Jess Kidd’s turn.
To describe Mr Flood’s Last Resort is doubtless to do it a disservice, but I will try. Maud Drennan is a care worker, who has been sent to the home of Cathal Flood to cook, clean and generally make sure that he is tended to each day. He’s a difficult, fire cracker of an old man, with dark secrets aplenty. Maud however has her own secrets, some of which take the form of saints that visibly hover in her life wherever she might be. She attracts the supernatural and Flood’s house offers just the right environment for her to unravel unspoken family mysteries. This is most definitely a book for fans of the unusual, who don’t mind plot being moved along by ‘unseen’ elements and who don’t struggle to believe in the unbelievable.
On some fundamental level I enjoyed reading Jess Kidd so much, that the plot, which was great, just didn’t seem to be that important. The novel itself was just so unusual, weird and fresh, that part of the fun was just waiting to see what would turn up next. Most definitely not a writer to be missed!