When Albert Jackson, a middle-aged school teacher, catches a glimpse of the infinite universe and his own tiny insignificance he cannot shake himself free of regret for a life all but squandered. In a blind and demented attempt to salvage something from his life, he sets off, half-lucidly, on a libertine mission to reclaim life, to live it exclusively on his terms. But the wild and sinister crime he plots, so characterised by delusion, sets him on a path to irreversible destruction.
Incarcerated after his crime, at the once prestigious Reil Institute, and in a bid to make spiritual and cosmic amends, Albert Jackson employs the guile of a local novelist, Charlie Vaughan, to tell his story. In the telling of Albert’s story, Charlie drives the narrative onward and backward, forcing Albert to confront the horrors of his crime. When the inadequacy of Albert’s initial confession forces Charlie to search further afield, he must cede control of the narrative to a range of other narrators too, among them key witnesses to the events leading up to Albert’s crime and a strange third-person account composed by Albert himself.
Slipping is a darkly humorous novel about life and love, ambition, bitter disappointment and the cost of committing the unforgivable.
"The Rashomon effect is at work in this anatomy of a small-town murder, with even the perpetrator offering more than one version of events. Irish writer Toomey (Huddleston Road, 2012, etc.) plays with the sort of whodunit that reveals the who up front and goes on to explore the how and why…. 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.” ~Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"The Irish answer to JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye." ~Bookmunch
Slipping is the Winner of the International Rubery Award for Fiction 2017, the largest prize for independent authors and publishers. The judges described the novel by the Dublin schoolteacher as “compelling reading...The prose is beautiful and the whole thing is a superb tour de force."
"A sly, layered story about how a writer constructs a narrative, and how elusive the absolute truth always is." ~New York Times