By Brian O’Sullivan
Butcher a Hog is a moving fictionalized memoir that recounts one man’s struggle with addiction, homelessness, and overwhelming adversity as his life unfolds in a sustained series of misadventures and noble failures that encapsulates his attempt to survive against all odds. Detailing two decades in the life of working-class, undocumented Irish emigrant, Butcher a Hog follows Liam McCarthy from his arrival in New York City in 1985 through a litany of shadowy living situations in Irish-American neighborhoods —from Boston to the Bronx—and traces his efforts to forge a livelihood amidst the realities of marginal employment, manual labor, and chronic substance abuse. With honesty and trenchant Irish humor, the novel shares both warm-hearted moments and bleak, dark times, culminating twenty years later with forty-one-year-old Liam facing an uncertain future of voluntary institutionalization in order to receive a prescribed round of ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy.
Written in a direct, confessional tone, Butcher a Hog moves across decades and generations to revisit episodes in Liam’s youth in his hometown in Kerry, introducing a poignant story of secret abuse and childhood pain shaded with family and social dysfunction. Even the tale of Liam’s first communion becomes a backdrop for diminished expectations and self-enforced alienation that will underscore his failings in adult life, as he inevitably moves from one fiasco to another, each time somehow managing to transcend the latest in a string of personal disasters. Throughout it is a testament to one man’s life and the relationships he formed in the course of trying to move past or run away from a haunting specter of depression and self-destruction. Butcher a Hog tells a meaningful and memorable story of a misguided young man who is forced to immigrate and find a way to survive on the streets of New York in the 1980s that along the way reveals a comical, unrelentingly honest path of personal discovery.
You can purchase the book online from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Butcher-Hog-novel-Brian-OSullivan-ebook/dp/B00DUKX4XW.