EXCERPT: Who were we without Molly?
No matter how exasperating she was, somehow Molly had a special connection to each of us. Molly and Blur shared a history of minor crime and rescued each other from dodgy situations without alerting the wider family. She and Oasis led marches to government buildings about the environment. After babysitting late one Easter weekend, Molly accidentally got hooked on the Masters and, ever since, she and Uncle Mike compared notes on all the Majors – a more unlikely golf fan there never was. Molly indulged Aunt Angela by attending 7 a.m. mass although, unbeknownst to Angela, Molly spent the time alternating between meditating and singing the soundtrack to Evita in her head. Molly brought Ann to life, was more reasonable than Even-Steven and ate Helen out of house and home. Aunt Frances approved of Molly’s non-conformist walkabout lifestyle and, weirdly, Molly and Bobby both loved swimming in the rain. There was a reason John was so worked up – sometimes it seemed like Molly was the daughter he’d never had. Molly had a connection to each of us but, more than that, she brought us all together – for good reasons and bad. Molly Black was like electricity – sometimes she lit up the world. Sometimes she electrocuted you.
ABOUT ‘THERE’S BEEN A LITTLE INCIDENT’:
‘There’s been a little incident…’
Molly Black has disappeared. She’s been a bit flighty since her parents died (sure, hadn’t she run off with a tree surgeon that time?) but this time, or so says her hastily written leaving note, she’s gone for good.
That’s why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer all the way through to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the back room of Uncle John’s semi-D in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.
Cousin Bobby’s having a hard enough time of it as it is, convincing his family he’s happy single and childless. Lady V reckons this is all much too much fuss over a thirty year old. And Uncle Danny knows all too well how it feels to be lost with no one trying to find you.
But Uncle John is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.
MY THOUGHTS: Warm and witty doesn’t even begin to cover it. There’s Been a Little Incident is a story of grief, of family, of love, in all it’s various forms.
This vast extended family reminds me of the diagram of an atom; you remember the one with a nucleus and all the particles whizzing about it? Only I’m not quite sure who the nucleus is here. It could be Uncle John, who loves to be the centre of things; the organiser. But it’s more likely that the nucleus is fluid and that each individual slips effortlessly in and out of the role in some strange uncoreographed dance that only they know the steps to.
Molly is a wonderful character. She seems to be a free spirit, but perhaps she’s simply lost, untethered, unsure of her place in this world. She appears relaxed and nothing seems to irritate her. She sings ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’ (off-key) when she’s driving, and counts upwards in fives when she’s stressed. She can’t stay in any one place for any length of time; she is always on the move – running, running, running, mostly from herself and the insurmountable grief that she doesn’t know how to live with. But, of course, the problem with running away is that you take yourself with you.
I love the dynamics in the Black family; the way they both support and gossip about one another. Electrons and neutrons.
I also enjoyed the mystery that is woven into this story. Because Molly was not the only person to disappear that night . . .
There’s Been a Little Incident is a superb debut novel and Alice Ryan is an author I will be watching for.
Family was sometimes simultaneously not enough and too much. You needed them and there were times when what you needed was not to need them.
I: #AliceRyanAuthor @headofzeus
T: @Alice_Ryan @HoZ_Books
#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #friendship #irishfiction #mystery #romance
THE AUTHOR: Alice Ryan grew up in Dublin. After moving to London to study at the LSE, she spent ten years working in the creative industries, holding roles in publishing, film and TV. She was Head of Insight and Planning at BBC Studios before returning to Ireland. She now works at The Arts Council of Ireland and lives in Dublin with her husband Brian and their daughter Kate.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus, Apollo via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of There’s Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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