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Pilgrim

Louise Hall | September 2018 | Mercier Press

In Dublin, fourteen-year-old Jen and her father, Charlie, are struggling to cope with the death of their mother/wife. Charlie, in particular, seems to have given up on life. When Jen’s aunt, Suzanne, convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to a strange village in Yugoslavia, there is hope that some solace or healing may be brought to their broken lives. On their arrival, however, they find a village in upheaval. An influx of pilgrims have swarmed into the village, each looking for their own miracle. Then there are the local police, who aim to suppress this so-called ‘revolution’. Amid all this, Jen makes a friend, Iva – one of the children who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary. Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong.

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The Valley of the Squinting Windows

Brinsley MacNamara | September 2018 | Mercier Press

Valley of the Squinting Windows is a classic Irish novel set in central Ireland c. 1914–16. Garradrimna is a tiny village where everyone is interested in everyone else's business and wishes them to fail. Twenty years before the events of the book, Nan Byrne has a relationship with a local man, Henry Shannon, hoping to marry him for his wealth. She falls pregnant but Henry refuses to marry her. After a miscarriage, the baby is buried at the bottom of the garden. Henry marries another woman and later dies, while Nan emigrates to England and marries Ned Brennan. They later move back to Garradrimna, where the villagers rejoice in telling Ned about his wife's past. 

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The Man Who Moved the Nation

Lisa Collins | September 2018 | Mercier Press

In early 2014 Gerry Collins’ moving words carried across the nation. This was due to his central role in the ads for the HSE’s QUIT campaign, which sought to convince people to give up smoking. The nation saw a brave man warning others, trying to save people from making the same mistake that he made. But Gerry was also a family man. A father. For Lisa Collins, her dad had always been ‘her person’. She simply couldn’t imagine a future without him. In immediate and honest prose, Lisa guides us through this turbulent period in her life and the life of her family as they battled against the diagnosis, as filming for the ads commenced and the campaign was launched, and the public spotlight was suddenly thrust upon the Collins family – all while Lisa struggled to accept her father’s impending death and Gerry’s health quickly deteriorated. This account of the final months of the life of Gerry Collins, the man who moved the nation with his bravery and honesty, is at once heartbreaking and inspiring, succeeding as it does in capturing the joyful soul of Gerry Collins himself, as well as showcasing the heart and resilience of the daughter and family who supported him right to the very end.

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The First Sunday in September

Tadhg Coakley | August 2018 | Mercier Press

With its unique subject matter and structure akin to Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, The First Sunday in September is a must-read. Tadhg Coakley wonderfully captures the excitement of All-Ireland day. Having re-mortgaged his home a hungover Clareman gambles the last of his money on his county to win. Sarah Taylor attends the final with her partner, Conor Dunlea, wondering when to tell him that she’s pregnant. Tim Collins watches the match from the stands, his gaze repeatedly falling on the Cork captain, Sean Culloty, whom he and his wife, Evelyn, gave up for adoption years earlier. Clare star forward Cillian McMahon struggles under the weight of expectation. Cork’s talisman Darren O’Sullivan waits for the sliotar to fall from the sky, aware that his destiny is already set. These are just a few of the characters whose lives we join for a day. A mix of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding.

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An Béal Bocht

Myles na gCopaleen | July 2018 | Mercier Press

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish-language novels of the 20th century, An Béal Bocht is a classic satire in Irish by one of the century’s great writers, Myles na gCopaleen/Flann O’Brien/Brian O’Nolan. This extremely funny book, with its rain-sodden peasants of Corca Dorcha who combine pretensions to proficiency in English with true caint na ndaoine in the hope of impressing the insatiable Irish-language enthusiasts, was the proof that the Irish of the Revival had come of age. 

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Rage-In

Tara Flynn | August 2018 | Mercier Press

The world is a mess and bestselling author and comedian Tara Flynn is raging. Well, sometimes. Mostly she’s shocked, bemused, irreverent and wondering where the kindness went. Depends on the week, really. Rage-In is a collection of essays providing a personal look at our modern world. Written in Tara’s distinctive voice – conversational, witty and easy to read – we are guided through many of today’s major issues, be it Emperor Trump, Brexit, an imaginary bunker for the impending apocalypse, trolls, being a Feminazi, or how pastels are actually THE WORST. With humour and empathy – as well as the occasional bout of rage – Tara Flynn tackles modern life and wonders whether anger is really the best way to survive it.