“Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast, and each will wrestle for the mastery there.” Faust / Goethe
Set against the soundtrack of David Bowie’s first Berlin album Low, Two Souls is an explosive novel that moves deftly between three time-frames: Belfast, August 1978 and the doomed love affair between a young punk and an older, bohemian art student; April 1979, specifically a frenzied Irish Cup Final day, the young punk now transformed into a violent football hooligan; and, through a series of smuggled ‘prison comms’, the dark, paramilitary-stalked Belfast streets of 1987, that young punk now an INLA leader embarking on the assassination of former comrades in a bitter feud, where all threads collide in a tense, thrilling denouement.
A seething cast of football hooligans, anarchic punks, paramilitary killers, disillusioned socialists and a young couple in a love affair that leaves a bitter, lethal legacy – all played out against a fizzing backdrop of sex, drugs, punk and avant-garde, punishment shootings, clerical child sex abuse, the advent of video porn and the end of communism.
At turns shocking and heart-breaking, with razor-sharp language and a turbo-charged plot, Two Souls is a singular ‘Troubles’ novel like no other, tragically exposing human nature’s futile efforts to make the right decisions and to choose a life worth living.
Think Martin Amis meets Irving Welsh against a febrile and gritty sectarian backdrop.
Table of Contents
- Boys Keep Swinging, 29 April 1979
- Black Cab Blasphemies, 29 April 1979
- The Kingdom of Trout, 29 April 1979
- The Speed of Light, July 1978
- Comms 1, 1987
- The Crowd, 28 April 1979
- God Save The Queen, 28 April 1979
- Breaking Glass, July 1978
- Platt hits the post, Bell Now Rising, 29 April 1979
- Sound and Vision, July 1978
- Comms 3, 1987
- 12, Top of The Kop, 29 April 1979
- Be My Wife, July 1978
- Comms 4, 1987
- Saved by the Bell, 29 April 1979
- They Said it Couldn’t Be Done, 29 April 1979
- Always Crashing in the Same Car, July 1978
- Comms 5, 1987
- UTH, 29 April 1979
- The Silver Lady, 29 April 1979
- A New Career in a New Town, August 1978
- The Speed of Light II, August 1978
- Comms 6, March 1987
- The Dogs in the Street, 30 April 1979
- What in the World, August 1978
- Comms 7, March 1987
- Holy Lands, 30 April 1979
- Warsawa, August 1978
- Picture and Postcard, 30 April 1979.
- Comms 8, 1987
- 16 March 1987: Communiqué, Revolutionary Command Council
- Comms 8, 17 March 1987
- Graveside oration by Aidan McManus, Chairperson of Brighton & Hove Against Imperialism and South Coast Co-Ordinator for the Republican Socialist Solidarity Group, 19 March 1987
- Subterraneans, 1 September 1994
“Buckle up! Henry McDonald’s novel takes the reader on a gritty and violent tour through the underbelly of a city where drugs and politics provide a combustible cocktail. It’s the author’s native city, and he knows its heartbeat … this book should come with an X certificate.”
Martin Dillon, author of The Shankill Butchers
“Luckily, when I lived in Belfast I didn’t know anyone as borderline psychotic as Padre Pio McCann, but like a lot of people, I heard rumours and stories. This one would not have been out of place. Starts fast and gets faster, like a good punk song!” Jake Burns, Stiff Little Fingers
“Any novel whose narrator wears an ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ T-shirt gets my vote any day.”
Julie Burchill, journalist and author
‘Withnail and I meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with a manic dose of Clockwork Orange thrown in for good measure.Two Souls gets to the roots of the Punk generation in Belfast’s darkest recent past, and sheds a light on what went on. You’ll not forget this novel in a hurry. I’m still reeling.’
Gerald Dawe, Poet and Fellow Emeritus (TCD)
About the Author
Henry McDonald is a staff writer for The Guardian and The Observer and has been a journalist covering conflicts around the world but specialising in the Northern Ireland Troubles for more than 30 years. He is the author of eight critically acclaimed non-fiction books including the histories of terror groups ranging from the INLA to the UVF. McDonald grew up in central Belfast and witnessed first-hand many of the key early events of the Troubles from Internment in 1971 to the carnage of Bloody Friday a year later. He was a punk rocker in the 1970s as well as a follower of Cliftonville Football Club, which he supports to this day.