A DARK fable of modern times forms the basis of a new novel by writer Billy Keane in subject matter marking a major departure for his pen.
The Ballad of Mo and G, which is to be launched at the Listowel Arms on Friday night at 8pm, is already causing a stir in the literary world for its uncompromising and gritty portrayal of urban and rural themes.
Featuring themes of love, sex and violence it's both a departure for a man ordinarily associated with sporting expertise and the literature of north Kerry in general.
But it's full of Billy's inimitable humour and sure to thrill his legion of fans.
As much as the works of his father John B Keane maintained the highest relevance in the last century, Billy Keane is firmly venturing into 21st Century territory in this love story between a 22-year-old youth from rural Ireland and a young mum from the wrong side of the big-city tracks.
It was so dark in places, in fact, that Billy had to take a break from writing it. "It's not for the feint-hearted that's for sure and I actually had to take a break from writing it for a few months as I found myself having to get inside the head of one particulary evil character a bit too much," he said.
He went off the drink completely for seven months, meanwhile, as he got stuck into the writing with remarkable discipline.
Mo and G is Billy's second novel, following the success of The Last of the Heroes in 2005. While comparisons with his father John B are inevitable, Billy's take on their relationship in letters is a moving one: "I never walk in his footsteps, but I always think he walks beside me."