Keith Kavanagh lost his virginity at 13 to a woman twice his age. He met his girlfriend while pissing on the hood of her father’s truck. He may have almost burned down the North Side of his Newfoundland outport hometown, but not even his best friend knows for sure. The transient nature of happiness is nowhere more profoundly evident than in the small town known as the Cove, where the hard-drinking, hard-fighting, hardticket hooligan Keith—along with his girlfriend, Natasha, and reluctant best friend, Andy—has spent the bulk of his chaotic years. Booze, drugs, sex and violence have kept his world from falling apart and shielded him from the vicious realities of life. But when Natasha leaves him, he must finally face his demons.
Rebellious adolescents are pretty much the same the world over, a point borne out by Newfoundland-born Hynes's debut about growing up in a small town in Canada's easternmost province: his teenage characters get high, have sex, and insult and outrage the adults around them. True, they speak a Celtic-tinged dialect (which Hynes captures masterfully), and they commit their minor social crimes in an isolated, rural setting that amplifies their discontent. Hynes's antihero is Keith Kavanagh, a hard-drinking bad boy ("a bit of a savage," his best friend Andy admits), who strives in self-destructive ways for love and respect. Keith's clipped but evocative narration trades off with the similarly poetic, snappish, adolescent narration by Andy and Keith's girlfriend, Natasha. The self-contained chapters read almost like short stories: the birth of Andy and Keith's friendship; Keith's drug-addled killing of a sick cat; a run-in between Natasha and her father over a sex toy. Raunchy, humorous and energetic, Hynes's novel engrosses, but never truly surprises: the author owes a large debt to Holden Caulfield for Keith's interior monologues and consistent attacks on hypocrisy. But it's a gritty, moving portrait of growing up or trying to, anyway.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Awesome book, seen the movie produced in 2008 i believe... film doesn't even come handy at all to the book, MUCH more detailed and interesting. Great read, recommended a few years back by a friend from Renews. Written exactly how my and the bys would speak, also situations that arose in the story are very easily relatable and places you in the middle of it all