Mulhoney was abandoned as a baby and grew up in a Dublin orphanage in the 70s, assuming his mother didn’t want him. As a young adult, he receives a tip that she was actually murdered, and he travels to the small town of his birth to discover the truth. The village receives him uneasily. He looks so much like his young teen mother, a girl who in spite of her age managed to make a big splash, that it’s not hard to figure out the connection. The women all respond to his charm and big eyes, the men are fine with him, but the uptight and self-righteous group who view themselves as in control are threatened by his very presence.
An encounter with aged troublemaker Mrs. Cauley sets up a plan in which the duo will observe and take note and deduce the killer. And yet, as the two of them gain allies and adversaries both, things grow beyond that, to deal with corruption of the ruling class and the freedom to love and live.
Himself is written in a poetic style, calling attention to skies and rivers and grasses. It also involves the dead, a lot of them, who can be seen only by Mulroney, who tell him stories and point to things but who also mostly just watch the living.
To be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy the writing style all that much. However, it is well done; this is a personal taste rather than anything objectively wrong. There are 2 murders that the readers “live” through with the victim, which I found somewhat disturbing. The story is fairly light and a fast read.