Eyepennies by Mike O’Driscoll is the first in a brand new line of TTA Novellas. The story takes its title from a song by American band Sparklehorse, and is a tribute to their singer Mark Linkous who committed suicide in 2010.
Eyepennies is a story of loss and grief, an up-to-date ghost story. The tale centres on lead character Mark, a fragile and deeply wounded character, who at one point in his life was declared dead for a number of minutes. The story features events that happened before and specifically after Mark’s experience, as he tries to piece together his shattered life and relationships in the aftermath of such a life-changing moment.
O’Driscoll’s narrative is jagged and non-linear. We see Mark develop as a character across a number of different decades, his love for music and girlfriend, Tess fluctuating and dissipating from page to page just as his drug dependency comes and goes in fits and starts. Despite being an engaging read Eyepennies does have its difficult moments and a couple of sections required a quick reread to cement exactly where they fit within the story. That said, Eyepennies is superbly written and has a very unique style that made it an extremely memorable read.
As mentioned above, Eyepennies is a tribute to a now defunct band that played obscure yet harrowing music and it is fair to say that Mike O’Driscoll manages to write the perfect tribute to his favourite band whilst keeping his feet firmly in the psychological horror bracket. Eyepennies is an oblique yet beautifully written story that slowly builds a number of emotional layers. O’Driscoll’s story reflects music, life and, of course, fear. The launch of the TTA Novella series is off to a very strong start with this daring yet emotionally grounded piece of writing that will linger in the brain of the reader like a haunting Sparklehorse melody.