The story is told from the point of view of John Hughes, a once prolific Irish writer who has not published in many years and is living off the royalties along with his wife, Laura and their teenage daughter, Rachael, in a nice home in Wicklow, about 30 miles outside of Dublin. Theirs is a fairly stress-free existence albeit a tad boring for John with visits to the local pub serving as the highlight of any given day. The area has been declared a tax-free zone for writers from abroad and attracts a new resident from England. Author William Cromer, along with his German lover, Ingrid, arrives in the neighborhood and suddenly John’s day to day existence is thrown askew. At a welcoming dinner party, John is smitten with Ingrid and becomes obsessed with her. The two of them begin a tryst that sees them jumping into bed together on a regular basis. John has fallen hard for Ingrid and is willing to risk his marriage to be with her. The entire affair seems simply a pleasant divergent to Ingrid.
Meanwhile, Irish Nationalists, disturbed that an English author is enjoying tax breaks in their country, are demanding extortion payments from William Cromer. There is a lot going on in this little novel which proves to be disturbing to the once bucolic life in the Wicklow countryside. Kevin Casey is an excellent writer and creates believable characters that will draw you in to their lives and keep you reading to see what happens.I am giving A State of Mind a solid ***1/2 stars.