Into the Grey is a ghost story about twin brothers, Pat and Dom Finnerty, whose lives are turned upside
down by the loss of their home and by a subsequent haunting. The book has quite a few chills, there's quite a bit of political history in it, much exploration of death and loss--but there’s also a lot of love and kindness in it, a fair few laughs and a lot of bravery. I thought I’d have a bit of fun with that side of the book on this blog tour, so these posts will be all about music! Why certain songs feature in the story, what they mean to me, what memories are associated with them etc . Into the Grey is set in the Irish seaside town of Skerries in 1974, all the songs featured are evocative to me of both that time and that (very real) place As you will see, they all speak very much to the story, too, and to the characters and the rather desperate situation with which they find themselves entwined.
WaterLoo: ABBA (Chapter: Waterloo)
NOTE: How could I set in a story in April 1974 without mentioning ABBA’s outstanding Eurovision victory? In this scene, Pat’s frantic attempt to have a poptastically good time, while underneath secretly falling apart, is something I recall from my early teens: the feeling that everything is darkness under a plastically smiling exterior, the constant struggle to seem normal when you feel anything but. I recall always wondering why I seemed to be the only one noticing all the brokenness – why couldn’t I just get on board with the rest of the well adjusted, laughing human-race and have a great time like everyone else? It took me a long time to figure out everyone feels the exact same, that we are all dragging our invisible demons around.
I remember when ABBA won, the TV station cut to the news before the victory performance was over, and Ma leapt up and ran into the kitchen to turn on the radio. Larry Gogan was still commenting on the show and he played the song all the way to the end. Ma raced back in and grabbed me by my hands and hauled me to my feet, and we danced all around the kitchen, singing along at the tops of our voices.
In that moment, I felt feverishly happy. I was almost hysterically happy. And when the song was over I remember thinking, No! No! Don’t let it stop. Let it go on forever. So that I could go on forever, dancing and singing in the kitchen with Ma. And not have to go upstairs.
But it did stop, and it was dead late, and Dad carried Dee to bed, and Ma started doing the dishes. I stood in the middle of the kitchen, the harsh centre light beating down on me, while Ma and Dom had a conversation with each other that was all sound and no words and seemed to come from very far away. I stood there in my pyjamas and dressing-gown, tired and lost and bloody terrified, looking at nothing in particular, thinking of nothing but how scared I was. Then Dom came quietly up behind me, took my elbow in his hand, and led me up the stairs.
This is Musical Book Playlist #3. (Curious about the rest of the books? You can visit the tour stops.)
A pacy, chilling ghost story from the creator of the internationally acclaimed Moorehawke Trilogy.
I think the fire changed us – me and Dom. I think that’s how the goblin-boy was able to see us. Though he’d been there for every summer of our childhood, we’d only been stupid boys until then. Stupid, happy, ignorant boys. And what in hell would he have had in common with two stupid boys? But after the fire we were different. We were maybe a little bit like him. And so he saw us, at last, and he thought he’d found a home…
or at Book Depository
or at Book Depository