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Forensic Songs

By: Mike McCormack

Publication Date: 28 September 2012

(3 customer reviews)


Forensic Songs by Mike McCormack

In his second collection of short stories, Mike McCormack joins head and heart in a series of tales which weave a fluid vision of a world morphing between the real and the hyperreal.

Amid much hollow laughter a prisoner is drawn from his cell in the middle of the night to play a video game; two rural guards ponder the security threat posed by the only man in Ireland not to have written his memoirs; a child tries to offset his destiny as a serial killer by petitioning his father for a beating; a late night American cop show becomes a savage analysis of a faltering marriage in the west of Ireland; two men turn up at the door of a slacker to give him news of his death and recruit him to some mysterious surveillance mission; an older brother worries about the health of his younger sibling; the prodigal son returns to reveal the fear and hypocrisy which lies at the heart of his brothers life.

In the twelve stories of Forensic Songs, McCormack’s characters find themselves trying to hold onto their identities in a world where love is too often and too easily obscured.


MIKE MCCORMACK was born in 1965 and comes from the west of Ireland. He is the author of a collection of short stories,Getting it in the Head(1996), and two novels,Crowe’s Requiem(1998) andNotes from a Coma(2005). In 1996 McCormack was awarded the Rooney Prize for Literature.Getting it in the Headwas chosen as New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1998. In 2006Notes from a Comawas shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award. He has received several Arts Council Awards and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. The author currently lives in Galway.


‘A cross between Nineteen Eighty Four and The X-Files… Combineschillingly credible scenarios with acerbic ‘political commentary …Powerfully imagined … Richly inventive and forcefully ironic, Notes From a Coma establishes McCormack as one of the most original and important voices in contemporary Irish fiction’ – The Irish Times

‘A mordant yet funny fable for our times, rich in contemporary cultural references.’ – Sunday Independent

‘A satisfying, thought-provoking read’ – Big Issue

‘Imaginative and highly original.’ – Irish Independent

‘The greatest Irish novel of the decade just ended was Galway-based Mike McCormack’s Notes From a Coma.’The Irish Times

Click here for a fascinating interview with the author himself.

Also available as an ebook

3 reviews for Forensic Songs

  1. Lilliput Press

    “McCormack writes from the heart and at times from a man’s hard head, seeing life as it is, not always pretty but always interesting. The stories are poignant without being sappy, a great book to read on a weekend with a Guinness at your side.” DONNA O’SHAUGNESSY

  2. Lilliput Press

    “Forensic Songs is Mike McCormack’s second short story collection, as well as having written two novels. His first collection was chosen as New York Times Notable Book of the Year. This new collection of twelve short stories has an enigmatic title and an attractive fly-fishing hook design cover by Graham Thew.
    The fly-fishing hook design explains itself in the first story, ‘The Last Thing We Need’. A sergeant due to retire in two months and his young side-kick, with just two months under his belt discuss a case of a non-written memoir and how to deal with it. The conversation, beautifully captured between the two characters, is one of the old guard passing on his advice to the younger, with deviations at times on the theme of fly-fishing.
    In ‘The Great Lad’, a returning brother (thought dead the last seven years) brings back past resentments and memories. This returning emigre theme continues into another story ‘The Man From God Knows Where’ and several stories carry links to the Irish working in England . A strange scenario is played out in ‘There is a Game Out There’, a prisoner brought to a room at night and asked to test play a computer game and in ‘Beyond’ a woman appears to lose touch with reality.
    McCormack has great observation of character, the things that annoy us about each other and the aspects of human weakness. There is nowhere to hide when these stories are being told, revealing things to the reader that they may uncomfortably identify with and other stories that are just plain obscure. Short stories seem to be having a renaissance and with writing of this standard it’s not hard to see why.” LOUISE WARD

  3. Lilliput Press

    “A true son of Myles na gCopaleen and Flann O’Brien, but there’s also an echo of Philip K. Dick in the sergeant’s desire to root out possible future subversion.”
    —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Weight 0.26 kg
Dimensions 136 × 215 mm
Publication Date

28 September 2012


Paperback, 192 pp.