He Used to Be Me


by Walsh Donnelly, Anne | Fiction
Published 09/02/2024 by NEW ISLAND BOOKS in Ireland
Paperback | 128 pages

SKU: '9781848409071 Category:


‘I sit on the stone that will mark the bed of my bones. You’ll find the used-to-be-me, soon, flat body, washed up, wrinkly skin. No silly grin. You’ll say, What a waste of a life. Tut-tut sounds jump out. Dangle like worms from your crow’s mouth…’

Meet Daft Matt, the Mayo man at the heart of this astonishing, form-bending story, as he wanders the streets of Castlebar in search of Devil’s feet – the claw marks of the cága, or jackdaws, who have spoken to him since he was a boy.

Yet Matt is anything but daft. In lyrical prose, Walsh Donnelly explores the complex workings of Matt’s inner life: how he deals with the loss of his twin brother as a child, navigates the carefree days of early manhood and copes with the aftermath of the horseriding accident that would see him incarcerated in the care system for the next thirty years. Richly imagined and beautifully written, this is a story for anyone who chooses to look beyond the surface of things.

‘I used to think those claws were the only things that kept me above sea-level.’