The 1p Book Review: Colm Toibin – Bad Blood

This pithy prose-poem of a 1p Book Review has been sent in by discerning Dabbler reader Stephen Buckley…

I’ve just bought Colm Toibin’s Bad Blood for a penny. History has cracked along since he wrote it yet has also continued its sluggish brown drag reminiscent of the peat streams Toibin observes flowing into the Loughs of Fermanagh.

Here is a relatively sleepy Eniskillen before the ‘big’ bomb, there’s a dozy Omagh before Spanish pipe bands and car bombs. He stays in a farm house on the border and informs his guests how much the Pope enjoys a bowl of beetroot soup. The Pope. In Fermanagh. An awkward silence falls.

Last month I sat in the café at Eason’s bookshop on O’Conell Street reading ‘The Blackwater Lightship’. An old one by me started to get agitated, trying to catch my eye. He got up to leave and touched the book as he did so. ‘He lives here, y’know, lives in this town!’.

‘Bad Blood’ for a penny. A writer well on the way to current brilliance.

Why not follow Stephen’s lead? The strange ways of internet commerce have meant that countless secondhand books can be bought online for £0.01 plus postage. The Dabbler will be recommending some of the out-of-print, forgotten or neglected gems that can be yours, at the time of writing, for a penny. If you would like to nominate such a book, email your review to
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3 thoughts on “The 1p Book Review: Colm Toibin – Bad Blood

  1. Gaw
    September 10, 2010 at 14:39

    Stephen, your review has already moved markets – it’s now at 40p! The book sounds as if it inhabits a fascinating but ominous atmosphere – and it’s new to me, so thanks.

  2. Worm
    September 10, 2010 at 14:59

    I see colm toibin plenty of times in my local charity shops, might have to give him a go, I know he’s supposed to be good, and has been nominated for the booker. Just googled him and was interested to note that he looks like a hulking great cauliflower-eared rugby player, yet is apparently an unmarried fan of musical theatre.

  3. Brit
    September 10, 2010 at 15:21

    Love that “An awkward silence falls”….

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