Book Review: Holding by Graham Norton

When I am feeling down, there is one thing that will always cheer me up: The Graham Norton Show. It doesn’t matter who the guests are because the main attraction for me is the man himself. Graham Norton is absolutely hilarious and I am in love with his sense of humour. He can make the most boring interviews interesting. So, no surprise that I loved his first novel, huh?

Holding by Graham Norton is set in the remote Irish village of Duneen where nothing ever really happens. Until one day when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn. Slowly, the secrets of the village begin to unravel, changing the lives of its inhabitants forever.

I didn’t love Holding for its comedy element because there is none. Instead, I loved it for another reason why I love watching The Graham Norton Show – the familiarity. Norton is a fellow Irishman and, more importantly, a Corkonian. This is very apparent in Holding, where the fictional town of Duneen is based loosely on villages in West Cork. But it is not really the location which made the sense of familiarity click, it is the language. Reading local phrases like ‘on tick’ allowed me to engross myself more in the book and helped me believe this story could play out in real life outside my front door.

I am aware that the use of Irish slang is not going to be the USP for every reader. The USP is probably more likely to be the easy language used or, even more so, the sense of intrigue and mystery one gets from each page. It wasn’t long before my mind started ticking over with possibilities as to who the human remains were or, more importantly, who put them there. Each character is a potential suspect and I really wasn’t able to guess the correct conclusion.

Finally, I want to touch on the characters in Holding. Each character is fantastic and plays a key role in creating intrigue for the reader. Outside the main plot, the characters each have their own unique story; unique enough to keep the reader interested and wanting more. My favourite character was PJ, the local sergeant, not just because he was key in solving the crime, but because he had a sad, touching story that really evoked emotion in me. A combination of the characters and the other points I made about Holding meant that the overall story was not as predictable as I thought it might be. Win!

Overall, I absolutely loved this! So much so I read it in one day. Absolutely looking forward to what Norton has to offer in the future.

Holding by Graham Norton


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