Green Glowing Skull  by Gavin Corbett
(Fourth Estate, 2015)

Green Glowing Skull

by Gavin Corbett

After fleeing his dying parents and the drudgery of work in Dublin for the Manhattan of his imagination – a place of romance and opulence, dark old concert halls and mellow front parlours quieted by the hiss of the phonograph cylinder – Rickard Velily hopes to be reborn as an Irish tenor, and to one day be reunited with the love of his life.

At the very peculiar Cha Bum Kun Club, a masonic-style refuge for immigrants who can’t quite cut it in New York City, he meets Denny Kennedy-Logan and Clive Sullis, and a plan is enacted: to revive the art songs and ballads of another time for a hip young city in thrall to technology and money.

But that is without reckoning on meddlesome sprites, the phantoms of the past – and more malign forces who plot to subjugate the human race.

Green Glowing Skull is a half-crazed brain-shunt of a trip around the spirit world, the cyber world and a woozily recognisable real world – a darkly comic tale of mythologies, machines and the metaphysical swirl.


A description of this novel’s set-up makes it sound like something by P G Wodehouse but this is Wodehouse filtered through steam punk and Spike Jonze and infused, too, with the strange magic of old Ireland … Corbett’s imaginative energy can’t be doubted”
- New Statesman
Deeply strange – and strangely deep. This is a book in which heads explode, people return from the dead, fish talk, pantomime cows are severed in two, and in which the reader will encounter page after page of unforgettable, resonant and sometimes moving prose…One of the most refreshing novelists writing today”
- Guardian
It is a blizzard of imaginative energy … The prose sings on every page, sometimes loudly, with silly song titles and arch dialogue, but often by seducing the reader – confidence is an attractive quality – while it slips its strangeness in … Its ebullient charm makes it very hard to resist.”
- Irish Times