Into the Grey is a ghost story about twin brothers, Pat and Dom Finnerty, whose lives are turned upside down by the loss of their home and by a subsequent haunting. The book has quite a few chills, there’s quite a bit of political history in it, much exploration of death and loss – but there’s also a lot of love and kindness in it, a fair few laughs and a lot of bravery. I thought I’d have a bit of fun with that side of the book on this blog tour, so these posts will be all about music! Why certain songs feature in the story, what they mean to me, what memories are associated with them etc . Into the Grey is set in the Irish seaside town of Skerries in 1974, all the songs featured are evocative to me of both that time and that (very real) place. As you will see, they all speak very much to the story, too, and to the characters and the rather desperate situation with which they find themselves entwined.
NOTE: I can’t say much about the final two songs for fear of spoilers. But here, for the penultimate track, Toots and the Maytals, Sweet and Dandy. Hell to the yeah. I dare you not to tap your feet. This is the start of Pat finding his ‘home sound’, his place—his voice I guess. It is also a restoratively happy sound in the wake of much darkness and loss.
James slipped The Sensational Maytals from its sleeve and put on side one. I’d never heard music like it. It was like a blast of fresh air. It made me sit up straight. Don’t get me wrong, I liked music, all sorts, whatever I could get a chance to listen to. But from the minute “It’s You” started to play, I felt – I don’t know how to put it – I remember thinking, I’m home! I found home!
That’s how much I loved it.