By Patrick McCabe

The groundbreaking new novel from one of modern Ireland's greatest writers

Fiction | Jackie Morris selects
116% funded
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Final designs

Publication date: April 2022

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Patrick McCabe brings his epic to life, doing all the voices. A tour de force of a performance: funny, poignant and terrifying by turns.


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Listen to Patrick's recording of the text as you read along with your own signed first edition hardback.


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A signed first edition plus a Poguemahone t-shirt exclusive to Unbound. Available in S, M, L, XL (size and design to be specified in post check-out email closer to the time of dispatch).


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Book a ticket to a gig in Spring 2022 (in Dublin and London, maybe more) to hear Patrick reading from the book, supported by musicians playing music inspired by it. Time/venue tbc by email.


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Two tickets to the launch party(s) in Dublin and London (Kilburn!) in Spring 2022, featuring Patrick reading from the book, supported by musicians playing music inspired by it. Time/venue tbc by email. Strictly limited to 40 per venue.


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Have your name listed on a dedication page at the front of the book and know you've helped an important work of art find its audience. Strictly limited to 4.


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The  morning is new but the feeling is old
Intervene blackbird and shorten the road.

LISA O’NEILL ‘Blackbird’ (courtesy of River Lea Records)

Since astonishing the world with The Butcher Boy in 1992, Patrick McCabe has established himself as one of modern Ireland’s greatest writers, with fourteen novels, two Booker Prize nominations and a host of awards to his name.

With Poguemahone, he is breaking new ground.

It's a wild, 600-page ballad, a free verse monologue narrated by Dan Fogarty, an Irishman living in England, who is looking after his sister Una, now 70 and suffering from dementia in a care home in Margate.

From Dan’s anarchic account, we gradually piece together the story of the Fogarty family. How the parents are exiled from a small Irish village of Currabawn and end up living the hard immigrant life in England. How Dots, their mother, becomes a call girl in 1950s Soho, working in the Piccadilly bar run by their legendary Auntie Nano, another exile from Currabawn. How a young and overweight Una, finds herself living in hippie squat in Kilburn in the early 1970s, and becomes infatuated with a two-timing Scottish poet and stoner called Troy McClory, much given to vatic poetry recitals and chanelling prog rock vibes. How the squat appears to be haunted by vindictive ghosts, who eat away at the sanity of all who live there. And, finally, how all that survives now of those sex-and-drug-soaked times are Una’s unspooling memories, as she sits outside in the Margate sunshine, and Dan himself, whose role in the story becomes stranger and more sinister.

(Tim Graham/Getty Images)

What sets Poguemahone apart from the rest of Patrick McCabe’s work is its form. He's leaving the safety of the traditional novel behind him. No chapter numbers; no voice-of-God narrator; no safe handholds.

Instead, it’s structured like a swirling piece of music. The way words are arranged on the page matters. The spacing and line shapes and breaks open the meaning. At times it comes on like a modernist poem by e e cummings or William Carlos Williams; at others it’s a beat recital in the Ginsberg/Ferlinghetti mode; sometimes it makes you feel you're holed up in smoky North London pub with a folk band rattling out the auld tunes.

It’s a book that draws the reader in and asks you to look and listen, to follow it as it swirls and riffs across the page. Like the best ballads, narrative themes come and go and are reprised, each time with new variations, filling in more of the details of the Fogarty family history.

© Markéta Luskačová/Tate Gallery

It’s a huge shape-shifting epic of the Irish in England, steeped in music and folklore, crammed with characters, both real and imagined, on a scale McCabe has never attempted before.

Imagine the supernatural terror of Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel, combined with the experimental élan of Lanny by Max Porter and the mesmeric ventriloquism of Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman and you’ll get some idea of what McCabe has achieved.

Poguemahone is audacious; a magnificent work of art.

Allowing writers to take risks is what Unbound is for: we hope you’ll want to join us by booking your place at the bar nice and early and supporting the book now.

It’s not often you get to have your name listed in the back of a masterpiece.


‘Reading fiction will never be the same again.’ RODDY DOYLE on The Butcher Boy

‘A dark genius of incongruity and the grotesque.’ HERMIONE LEE on Breakfast on Pluto

'A savage and unfettered imagination.’ ERICA WAGNER on Breakfast on Pluto

‘A sustained achievement of often dazzling brilliance.’ IRVINE WELSH on Winterwood

‘Stark, fierce, and wonderful.’ CLAIRE KILROY on Hello, Goodbye

‘Gloriously deranged, wired to the moon, truly inspired.’ KEVIN BARRY on The Big Yaroo

'Like reading sections of Ulysses'  NEIL JORDAN

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First Edition Hardback

Handsome first edition hardback - 600 pages printed on 80gsm paper with coloured endpapers, head & tail bands and silk ribbon marker.


  • Ebook
  • Your name listed in the back
Pre-order this reward
  • Patrick Mc Cabe avatar

    Patrick Mc Cabe

    Patrick McCabe was born in 1955 in Clones, County Monaghan. He is the author of The Butcher Boy, which won the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction; The Dead School; Breakfast on Pluto and others. The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize and adapted into feature films by Neil Jordan. Winterwood was named the 2007 Hughes & Hughes/Irish Independent Irish Novel of the Year. He now lives in Dublin.



    pogue (Gaelic) = kiss
    toin = arse
    pog mo thoin (Eng trans: poguemahone) = kiss my arse.



                                                 Oh yes, that’s what they’ll tell you

                                                 that the women are worse than the

                                                 men by far


                                                 whether or not that’s true

                                                 I am sorry I have to say

                                                 that I do not know

                                                 but I’ll tell you this

                                                 yes this one thing I’ll tell you

                                                 that it certainly is

                                                 when it comes to

                                                 our Una-

                                                 for this

                                                 longtime past

                                                 she has been

                                                 literally putting me

                                                 astray in the head,

                                                 with everywhere you go

                                                 it’s Dan



                                                 yes, Dan this

                                                 Dan that

                                                 & Dan the other   

                                                 every hour of the blooming...


                                                 ah, she’s not the worst of them

                                                 all the same

                                                 not by a long shot

                                                 with some of the spakes

                                                 she comes out with

                                                 making you howl

                                                 with the laughter

                                                 get out of my way!,

                                                 she crows

                                                 & away off with her then

                                                 swinging around the corner

                                                 I’ll give you funky little boat

                                                 race!, she calls back, hesitating,

                                                 dismissing me with an impatient

                                                 wave: now don’t be annoying me

                                                 for I’m off on my travels

                                                 to get myself a cup of tea.

                                                 Yes, a sweet wee tasty cuppa

                                                 so let me be hearing no more

                                                 about it!


  • Patrick McCabe has written 9 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.


    You'll never believe this – but I was shovelling some new butternut sweets into a bag out of our recent delivery when I looked up and, to my surprise, descried right there in front of me an extremely irate-looking gentleman, very ruddy of cheek with his hat alarmingly askew on the side of his head, cracking his knuckles as he heaved: 'Look here you! This has gone far enough!'

    And then proceeding…

    6th February 2021 Crocky 'Melodeon' Grimes

    Once I knew a fellow, during the time I lived in Hackney, called Crocky Melodeon Grimes who came from Currabawn where the idea of a joke was saying to someone: 'Did you see such-and-such going around the place without me?'

    Well, anyway, Crocky wore an Afghan and stank to high heaven of patchouli, physically not unlike Vincent Crane, the virtuoso keyboard wizard responsible for cascades of arpeggios…

    3rd February 2021 Naked Nudies As Nature Intended

    When I was living in London myself, and Lord knows now that that's neither today nor yesterday, there was nothing I liked better than a nice penny bun and a cup of Brooke Bond on The Strand, in Lyons's Corner House - followed by a trip out to The Paperback Centre in Stockwell to pick up my weekly copy of Naked Nudies As Nature Intended, which 'Pop' Mc Gurran (himself a native of Currabawn, not far…

    21st January 2021 Mr Exu

    Just who is he: Mr Exu?

    I dont know but I'll tell you this - if he was around here you wouldn't be long finding out, I can tell you that.




    20th January 2021 shop in space

    hey partners!

    welcome to my intergalactic kiosk on the corner, ably managed by myself, Gertie Pogue, and assistant, Maura Tone. It's great to see you all here, and I hope plenty more. I only wish I could supply a balsa wood hang glider with painted-on markings for the boys and maybe a charm bracelet for the ladies, if that's not out of date in these times, but i haven't got any anyway as, you see…

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