This Plague of Souls
Nealon returns to his family home in Ireland after a long time away, only to be greeted by a completely empty house. No heat or light, no sign of his wife or child anywhere. It seems the world has forgotten that he even existed.
The one exception is a persistent caller on the telephone, someone who seems to know everything about Nealon's life, his recent bother with the law and, more importantly, what has happened to his family. All Nealon needs to do is talk with him. But the more he talks the closer Nealon gets to the same trouble he was in years ago, tangled in the very crimes of which he claims to be innocent.
Part roman noir, part metaphysical thriller, This Plague of Souls is a story for these fractured times, dealing with how we might mend the world, and the story of a man who would let the world go to hell if he could keep his family together.
Praise for This Plague Of Souls
"The Irish master of tension returns . . . This Plague of Souls, a late entry for the most interesting novel of the year, is more straightforwardly expressed, but remains a fully fledged tale of the unexpected"
John Self, The Times
"Terror, crime and sinister phone-calls - a magnificent Irish novel. For the most part, it reads like a thriller, shot through with a pervading atmosphere of precarity and uncertainty . . . a beautifully written collision of mystery and metaphysics"
"Drawing these threads of heartbreak, surreal menace and the possible imminent collapse of the world together, McCormack weaves a web that holds the reader in suspense to the end - and beyond"
“Operating in a minor key, nudging us coyly towards an eerily personal apocalypse, the new book creates an utterly distinctive, utterly contemporary mood”
Kevin Power, The Irish Times
“Ultimately, this is a mood piece with a creeping, mesmeric tone of its own..seek out this unique proposition by this inimitable writer”
The Irish Independent
“This Plague of Souls is written in perfectly-pitched cadences. It captures with exquisite care a man ambushed by loss and fear, by hovering forces that are mysterious and otherworldly and beyond his control. It further establishes Mike McCormack as one of the best novelists writing now”
“This is the reason Mike McCormack is one of Ireland’s best-loved novelists; he is the most modestly brilliant writer we have. His delicate abstractions are woven from the ordinary and domestic - both metaphysical and moving, McCormack’s work asks the big questions about our small lives’
"Stark, intense, fiercely controlled . . . Mike McCormack at his best"
"A sombre tale shot through with glints of dark humour, in which the sins of the past at once haunt and illuminate the present. A compelling read"
“In This Plague of Souls, recently-released jailbird Nealon is confronted by a stranger who offers a fresh take on global possibilities, while the country is in absolute lockdown for unspecified reasons. The atmosphere drips with menace as Nealon has to drive through the night to meet this unknowable man. Is he his nemesis or his conscience?Enigmatic from start to finish, Mike McCormack is unafraid to challenge his readers with the big questions most of us desperately try to avoid. Skilfully told and superbly written, this is the story of the human condition in all of its strength and vulnerability. A beautifully profound book”
"This is a darkly marvellous novel: at once intimate, domestic and poignant, then speculative, hard-boiled and wild. That McCormack can be so convincing, so skilled in both registers is remarkable. That he can do it concurrently is genius"
"It was deliciously sinister and reminded me that nobody captures the cold beauty and cruelty of the world like Mike; I just know I'm going to be chewing it over in my mind for weeks"
''This Plague Of Souls is a mesmerisingly spare, eerily beautiful novel from a singular writer. A book that feels like wandering through the beautfully rendered yet hauntingly empty levels of some strange, utterly compelling video game.''
“Mike McCormack’s fiction has always had a philosophical bent, and none more so than in This Plague of Souls. In Nealon, we’re given access to the mind of a man minutely attuned to every movement and vibration of his own consciousness, a man who is psychologically astute but receptive, too, to the hidden rhythms and frequencies of reality. There is a beautiful surreal feel to this novel, with its limbo landscape and night-time drives, but it is Nealon’s meditation on family and fatherhood – and what the loss of those might mean – that will linger long in the reader afterwards”