SLIPPING - REVIEWS
WINNER of the INTERNATIONAL RUBERY AWARD FOR FICTION 2017
"What has ‘slipped’ in John Toomey’s excellent novel is any sense of reality in the mind of its subject, Albert Jackson. As he goes about his daily life as a teacher, Albert appears normal enough, but contemptuous and distorted thoughts seethe in his brain as he pursues his delusion of love for a pretty young teacher on whose account he (partly) decides he must murder his wife. While serving his sentence in the local psychiatric hospital, he enlists the aid of a young fiction writer, Charlie Vaughan, to help him present his view of this event. Albert’s account, sent in episodes, makes compelling reading, both for Charlie and ourselves. Albert is clearly insane, but his fierce intellect, playful humour and tender observations both intrigue and disarm us as he draws us into the complex workings of his mind. At the end, Charlie is not sure if Albert deserves a public voice. There is something self-serving about Albert’s request, something that makes us feel uneasy, even complicit. And yet the story is told. And we can’t help but be thoroughly entertained. The prose is beautiful and the whole thing is a superb tour de force. "
New York Times, Katharine Weber
"Toomey has constructed an engaging weave of competing stories that unfurl in multiple parallel ribbons, some never destined to converge."
Irish Times, George O'Brien
"...there is nothing generic about Slipping’s approach....John Toomey’s largely unadorned prose generates an ebb and flow of motive and agency, love and horror, evasion and absorption, the transient and the episodic...As with the pregnancy scare of Sleepwalker (2008) and the love affair of Huddleston Road (2012), Toomey dives deep into the spaces between debts to self and those to others, and he does so with power, economy and an understated sense of the absurd...Charlie Vaughan says he is barely a writer. Nobody could say that of Toomey."
The Kirkus Review, Starred Review
"anatomy of a small-town murder...the sort of whodunit that reveals the who up front and goes on to explore the how and why...Toomey gives a detailed, persuasive view of an unsettled mind for which murder is far from the only recourse...There's something of Lucky Jim here in the way Jackson peppers his narrative with acerbic asides criticizing everyone around him. The book also includes witness accounts from a student, a teacher, a barista, and policemen, among others, as well as conversations with Jackson himself and his psychiatrist, both of whom allow Toomey to have some quasi-meta fun with the process of writing a book like the one he has written...Toomey is aiming to do more than solve a mystery and achieves a psychologically intriguing, unnerving character study."
The Gazette, Iowa City, Laura Farmer
"...A surprising mystery about the stories we tell ourselves and the varying identities we carry, “Slipping” is a true testament to the power of narrative technique — a power that should be challenged and prodded if we are to ever know the truth..."
Book Munch, Lucille Turner
"...A highly entertaining reflection on the cost of living out your fantasy......the quality of the writing is immensely entertaining..."
"Toomey’s Slipping...is masterful in its plotting, its narration, and its style...(the) account of a day in the life of Albert Johnson is humorously realistic and frighteningly real..."
RTE.ie, Paddy Kehoe
"150-page novel will offer readers much to ponder on as the background to Albert’s delusional crime is laid bare, with profound psychological acuity."
Irish Examiner, Colette Sheridan
"...an intriguing take on the murder story genre. It's as chilling as Jackson's cold-blooded murder..."
The Sunday Times, Louisa Carroll
"...a multifaceted psychological profile of the mind of a murderer...(a) darkly humorous novel..."
Sunday Herald, Scotland, Alastair Mabbott
"...The Albert Jackson that emerges from the transcripts is an articulate misanthrope...a suburban Raskolnikov being driven mad by other people and the banality of their interactions..."
Irish Independent, John Boland
"...That story has been engrossing and Toomey tells it very well, with an acute eye for the detail of Irish small-town life, with many sardonic asides, and with arresting insights into a mind at the end of its tether..."
RTE Culture extract from SLIPPING
Berfrois extract from SLIPPING