The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney


One of the books I was excited about this year was The Blood Miracles, the second novel from Lisa McInerney. I read her debut, The Glorious Heresies in 2015 and I picked it as one of my top books of the year with its fascinating cast of characters and gritty plot. It went on to win awards including the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction (I have an eye for talent, me!) so needless to say I was eagerly anticipating what happens next…

In The Glorious Heresies we were introduced to various flawed characters and how they are connected and affected by a murder case. One of these characters was Ryan Cusack, whom we see growing up within a darker, seedier side of Ireland. In The Blood Miracles Ryan is approaching twenty-one years of age and is the focus of the story. This is a change in direction from the first book as it has moved from multiple character views to predominantly one, but this does mean that we learn a lot more about Ryan and his situation. And his situation is a complex one. Ryan has found himself in the company of some unsavoury characters and is immersed in the dangerous world of drug dealing. Alongside his involvement with drugs he also has his difficult relationships to contend with – his now long term girlfriend Karine along with a stranger who comes along and proves something of a distraction. I read on with interest as Ryan lurches from one awkward encounter to another, caught in a cycle of drugs and sex and nightclubs, all while trying to keep on the right side of his boss, and his girlfriend.

Whilst this is a different kind of story to The Glorious Heresies there were aspects of The Blood Miracles that I enjoyed which were similar to its predecessor. Once again I found the character portrayal to be good, the characters, especially Ryan, are most certainly flawed and are involved in questionable activities but despite that I still found myself invested in their stories and their vulnerable side. Interspersed throughout the novel are sections where Ryan is addressing his mother, who had died. In these moments we get a glimpse of Ryan’s vulnerability and we see the events and issues that led Ryan to this path in life, and see his emotions. In terms of the character dialogue there is a lot of foul language used throughout which may not be to every readers taste but does add an authenticity to the characters voices, and it helps to portray this dark ‘underworld’ and the shadier side of Ireland. All this building up to some shocking events, and the hint that there is more to come for Ryan Cusack…

I found The Blood Miracles to be an enjoyable read. It is an honest and unflinching portrayal of the complex world of a young man negotiating a difficult life.

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